Hush is a 2016 horror-thriller from Blumhouse Productions. Contrary to Blumhouse’s typical jump-scare offerings, this Mike Flanagan-directed film is a suspenseful, gripping story with a truly incredible main protagonist that really is worth a watch.
Maddie (played by co-writer Kate Siegel) is a successful author who has moved to a remote home in the woods with only a few neighbours to keep her company. She’s struggling with the ending of her latest book. She always writes several endings to each of her books to keep them unpredictable, but none of her options seem to be quite right. But Maddie is unique to most heroines as she is deaf after an illness that struck her when she was thirteen.
The premise sounds very much like the 1967 film Wait Until Dark, but Audrey Hepburn’s Susy is very different to Maddie. In fact, other than both ladies having disabilities and having an incredible ability of intuition and wit, the similarities between the two movies are very few.
For one, Hepburn’s Susy is targeted specifically for having something Alan Arkin wants. Though she is unaware of the reason, there is still a motivation behind her assailants. But in the spirit of modern horror, Hush gives us a more relatable villain: one without a motive other than to take pleasure in the pain of others.
Maddie is visited one day by her neighbour and friend, Sarah. She’s the only other person in the area until her boyfriend comes home from work later that night. The friends part ways for Maddie to work on her book.
As the night progresses, Maddie is shown how she contacts the outside world – primarily through the use of Face Time on her cell phone and laptop. She is by herself, though, when Sarah runs to her door, screaming for help. Maddie also misses the moment when her friend is shot in the back with an arrow from a crossbow. A man in a mask (10 Cloverfield Lane‘s John Gallagher Jr) approaches Sarah to take her away. He knocks on the glass doors without Maddie’s acknowledgement. Upon realising that Maddie is deaf, the man drags Sarah’s corpse away to plan his pursuit of his next victim.
Maddie tries to make a deal with the man, saying that he can just go because she hasn’t seen his face (she cleverly conveys the message through writing the plea in lipstick on her glass door and shining a flashlight on it). But the man simply takes off his masks and tells her its too late.
Now the rest of the movie plays like a game of cat and mouse. It’s up to Maddie to keep her senses about her to keep herself safe. Each scenario is terrifying as she tries to escape the man that is taunting her for no reason.
Kate Siegel is so great in this film. Maddie faces obstacle after obstacle, but faces each with chilling realism. The performances from the two main actors are so convincing that it makes Hush a completely believable film, which is so key in a suspenseful horror film like this. Thankfully, Flanagan keeps it light on the cliches and keeps this movie nice and tight at a mere 82 minutes. It’s well worth a watch when in need for a spine-tingling suspense film.
Hush is now streaming on Netflix world-wide.