William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist (1973), was a big fan of the film and encouraged people to watch it. See more »
When Maddie takes shelter in her bedroom, she closes the door and pushes a dresser in front of the door with great difficulty. After the killer uses Sarah's hand to bang on the window and Maddie backs out of the room, she pushes the dresser out of the way with one hand and little trouble. See more »
You know what, I think you're holding out on me. I bet if I hit the right spot... I can make you scream
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"Hush"- A thrilling and very fun old-fashioned home-invasion flick! Exceedingly well-written and executed.
One of the great tragedies in modern horror is that many of the best contemporary releases in the genre often go tragically underrated and under recognized by the bulk of audiences, while attaining general apathy and dismissal from those who do give them a chance. High quality and cerebral releases like "It Follows" and "The Witch" are condemned as "boring" and "pointless" by people who refuse to analyze their themes and deeper meanings. Subversive and satirical films like "Krampus" and "The Cabin in the Woods" are blasted for being "not scary" or "stupid" by those who misunderstand their intentions. And excellent foreign films like "The Babadook" and "The Devil's Backbone" are given barely a token limited domestic release before being dumped onto home video with little fanfare and are ignored by the masses.
Being a legitimate fan of all things horror can be hard. You really have to look out for the good films. And even moreso, you have to be willing to give just about every film you find a chance because so many so-called "horror audiences" are, well... way too quick to judge and all to happy to denounce solid films for any number of silly reasons. Case in point? Director Mike Flanagan's highly entertaining and very fun home-invasion thriller "Hush"- a film with a simple but brutally effective high-concept set-up that pays off wonderfully. And yet, despite wide critical acclaim and the film's rampant strengths, it's being dismissed and nit-picked apart by general audiences, like most good recent releases of its genre.
We follow lead character Maddie (co-writer Kate Siegel), an author who lives alone out in the woods and is struggling to come up with an ending for her latest novel. However, tonight she is not alone- for a twisted and disturbed masked man (John Gallagher Jr.) appears and begins to stalk her and taunt her, threatening to kill her as he has several others. And Maddie has an incredibly disadvantage... she is a deaf-mute, and cannot necessarily hear him coming. And so, she must rely on her cunning and her creative mind to overcome this devilish threat and try to escape with her life...
The film's success lay in its brutally simple but extremely elegant story-line and the top-notch execution that director Flanagan and the cast excel at. The film struck me as quite charming and quaint... almost old-fashioned in a way. It reminded me of other, similar movies from yester-year in a really fun way. Flanagan and Siegel know just how to perfectly structure the film in such a way that it hits just the right beats and never overstays its welcome. It's a very efficient film with just the right sense of urgency and pacing. All the main players are introduced and immediately defined. The action starts quickly and only lets up in a few appropriate key moments to give the audience some breathing room. And every single facet of the story is established and paid off in a really clever way. As far as screen writing goes... the script for this film is pretty much perfect. I could see it being used as a studying tool for aspiring writers and in creative-writing classroom settings. I've seen some people bemoan the fact that some aspects of the story are not explained... but this is just mind- boggling. We learn everything we need to know for the story that's being told. We don't need excessive and unnecessary detail. That would just clutter the narrative and make for a weaker film.
The film is quite slick in terms of direction, and I've been finding that Flanagan is quickly becoming one of the go-to's for effective mainstream horror. This is the third film of his I've seen, and he seems to grow more and more with each release. He's confident with his visual storytelling without letting it become a distraction, and he injects just enough style and flourish to augment the story and really drive it home. He never relies on cheap tricks like incessant camera-shake or false jumps... he knows the situation is frightening enough in and of itself. Very excellent work that is complimented by the top-notch lighting and cinematography of DP James Kniest and the dreary tones of composers The Newton Brothers. And to top it off, the performances are excellent. Siegel is endlessly likable as our lead, and she's never too strong or too vulnerable. She feels like a real person stuck in a truly terrifying situation. Gallagher Jr. is devilish fun as our adversary and is a truly slimy, threatening presence. And supporting roles by the likes of Samantha Sloyan and Michael Trucco are ideally cast and expertly performed.
It's quite a disservice to such an excellent film that it was never given a proper theatrical release and was instead released predominately as a Netflix film. This is the sort-of movie I'd kill to see on the big screen with the right audience, as we gasp, scream and applaud together. It's a wonderfully made, highly efficient and wickedly well-written film and is easily going to become a go-to for Halloween night viewings and late-night horror-movie marathons for my friends and I. I freaking loved every second of it.
There's no other way to say it... I gotta give it a 10. There's basically no faults to be found here. It gives you everything you could possibly want from a high-concept home-invasion thriller, and then some.
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