Director: Mike Flanagan
Cast: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher, Jr., Michael Trucco
Spoilers Within: Yes
Originally posted 10th April 2016 on Letterboxd.
A solid, aggressive home-invasion horror with a central concept that hasn’t been overcooked (unlike so many other horror sub-genres), Hush is a refreshingly decent and brisk film from the director of the similarly decent Oculus, if not better.
Fresh off his amiable role in 10 Cloverfield Lane John Gallagher, Jr. turns in a frighteningly believable and frenzied killer, deftly flipping between berserk and charming at an instant’s notice. As for Kate Siegel, she skillfully approaches a role that is far more demanding than most would presume, carrying not only a warmth within her fully-deaf Maddie but also conveying the absolute terror she experiences at the hands of the Man (Gallagher).
It’s a bummer that in spite of some very intelligent moments of light and sound, writers Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel included some baffling scenes of tension-breaking goofiness: perhaps the most obvious example in defense of my statement is the stunning moment of Maddie (Siegel)’s head being caved in by Man, with another 15 minutes left to go. To that point, it was the success of the writing that made that scene feel entirely plausible, but a failing in revealing it to be a ghostly ‘what if’ moment. It’s with this – and the subsequent ‘inner voices’ – that served up more exposition than thrills. It’s understandable to have an inner-voice for a deaf character trying to convey what they’re thinking, but the writing and Siegel’s acting had already shown that there was a workaround smart enough to avoid this; and smarter still to avoid Man having the same level of audible exposition of what he was going to do versus what Maddie was going to do. It was entirely perfunctory and harmed – but not destroyed – the well-crafted tension.
It’s in those moments that the film drops the ball a little, but it’s an energetic, suspenseful – and not forgetting blood-soaked – home-invasion that focused more on the horror of the situation than the reasoning behind it. The Man was a psychopath and nothing more: no trite back-story; no sexual motivation; just pure malice. That alone should make it worth a watch, but thankfully there’s much more to enjoy in what is certainly Flanagan’s most satisfying film.