Director: Mike Flanagan
Verdict: Really good fun
Hush is a straight to Netflix release from the director of mirror-thriller (rhyme trademarked to TheHipsterLlama 2016), Oculus, Mike Flanagan. What with Duncan Jones’, (Moon, Source Code), new film Mute looking to also be a Netflix release it looks like the streaming service have some obsession with thrillers about people who can’t do basic human functions like hearing or talking. I can picture their next release now, “from the acclaimed director of, *inset cool, culty, popular film here*, comes a chilling thriller about someone who has no legs fighting for his life in the arctic”. I ask you.
Hush is a relatively simple story, it reminded me of 10 Cloverfield Lane just without the lovingly ridiculous ending. It follows Kate Siegel as Maddie, making her co-writing debut with Flanagan also. She is a deaf mute, alone in a remote post-modernist house. Well it’s a grizzly exploitation thriller, I’m sure you can guess the rest, (she is then besieged). What I found really interesting about Hush is that whilst something like You’re Next succeeds because it populates both sides of the conflict so richly whilst still characterising each member just enough so that you can slaughter them with impunity but feel like you’ve earned it, Hush has just one attacker, and one defender. Hush succeeds here because it keeps finding ways for you to feel like there are stakes, even though our protagonist has to last until the end because, well, who else is in the damn film?
Our attacker is played by John Gallagher Jr., (Short Term 12, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Newsroom), who seems to have an affinity for these kind of, very low budget or very stripped down dramas, and he is quite unrecognisable. Both in performance and visage. It was about 50 minutes in before I twigged it was him, I just knew I knew him from somewhere. It really seems as if Gallagher Jr. is shaping up to be one of the most underrated but versatile, understated performers of our age.
Just because it’s small scale doesn’t mean it skimps on the thrills, chills, or spills though, it’s a really grizzly slasher film without any of the slashing and it has several crash-bang-wallop set pieces that had me on the edge of my seat, I mean it’s not wonderful, and the premise does take a lot of the potential tension out of the film because SHE’S THE ONLY REAL CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE, IT’S NOT LIKE SHE’S GOING TO KOP IT HALF AN HOUR IN AND THEN IT’S A DRAMA ABOUT HER ANONYMOUS GRIEVING FAMILY, IS IT!?
That being said, Hush still succeeds on the merit of it’s craft and performances keeping us engaged despite paper thin characters. It’s a cheap, cheerful 90 minute thriller, and worth putting on during a lazy Netflix & Chill night.