At its base premise level, Hush is a clever twist on a highly unoriginal premise. It may be unmemorable, but is a solid way for any thriller fan to spend 86 minutes.
Hush (2016) is a horror/thriller home invasion film directed and written by Mike Flanagan. It stars Kate Siegel as Madison Young, a struggling writer living a solitary life in the woods, who must fight for her life when a masked killer (John Gallagher Jr.) appears at her window. The twist: she’s mute and deaf.
Hush is currently available on Netflix, and for anyone looking for a fine thriller to occupy some time, this film definitely fits the bill. It knows what it is, a small-scale home invasion story, and doesn’t try to be anything else. Granted that means its unlikely to make much of an impression after the fact, but during its full runtime, this is a solidly made movie.
As with any good thriller (obviously), there is some great tense moments, particularly build around the twist on the premise. Not only is having the main protagonist be deaf and mute a fresh idea that I have yet to see anywhere else, it adds higher stakes and conflict to an already intense film. In addition, Madison is an easy protagonist to root for. Smart and quick-witted yet still vulnerable and desperate, she quickly grabs the viewers sympathy and never lets go. Unfortunately however, the invader in question is less impressive. While he’s also very easy to root against, John Gallagher Jr. simply plays him as a dead-eyed psychopath with very little nuance or even menace. Having a genuinely imposing performance would have been great for the tension of the film, but instead he fails to make much of an impression.
In addition to a disappointing adversary, this film struggles with a number of other flaws. The script is ridiculously obvious in its foreshadowing that its impossible to miss for anyone who has seen a movie before. It also has a couple of sub-plots that go nowhere, a set-up that goes for a bit too long, and some genuinely cliché moments. Without spoiling them, there are several groan-inducing clichés in play that hinder what is (most of the time) one tense scene after another. And there’s also the overarching issue that should be addressed – we’ve seen all this before. While the deaf/mute twist on the premise is fresh, the overall plot has been done to death over and over. That doesn’t make it a bad film per-se, but definitely makes it feel unmemorable.
But even so, Hush delivers exactly what you’d want from a home invasion thriller. Its tense, crowd-pleasing and never over-reaches beyond what its set out to achieve. It may struggle in the scripting department but overall Hush is a solid little movie that anyone who likes thrillers (and has Netflix) is going to enjoy for most of its run-time.
General Audiences: Recommended
Film Buffs: Meh