By Hayden Gotsch
Silence is truly golden in this horror story. Hush follows mute and deaf writer Maddie Young as she defends herself against a violent killer hell bent on invading her home. Filmed with minimal talking, this story relies on action to build suspense.
Directed by horror movie veteran, Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil), adds another successful notch to his belt. Hush earned a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, 5 stars on Netflix and 67% on Metacritic.com. Leading lady Kate Siegel (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil also) was nominated for the best actress in a leading role in the 2016 Fright Meter Awards. Siegel was also the co-writer of the script along with Flanagan.
Maddie is a surprisingly deep character despite the lack of spoken language. We see her struggling with isolation, brought on both literally and figuratively by her lack of a literal voice. However, that does not mean she is voiceless. Her emotions and thoughts are still represented well by Siegel and the desperate actions of the character.
On the other hand, the nameless masked killer played by John Gallagher Jr. is as crafty as he is deadly. This killer’s sole purpose is to agonize and toy with Maddie for the majority of the movie as well as rack up a body count to further terrify the audience. Armed with a crossbow, knife, and devious personality, the killer is almost as interesting to watch as the heroine.
Hush is entirely filmed in one location and the camera rarely strays from the inside of Maddie’s home. This creates a tighter, almost claustrophobic feeling to the movie. To simulate Maddie’s disability, the film occasionally cuts out all sound and just focuses on the action taking place.
The horror movie stereotype that a character will do something questionable that almost immediately leads to their demise, for example, going into the basement of a haunted house, is broken here. Maddie never does anything blatantly dumb; all of her choices seem thought out and productive making her that much easier to cheer for.The gore factor in Hush isn’t excessive or needless like other horror films like Saw. There’s never anything to upset a squeamish stomach or scary a child for life. Just enough blood to get the message and seem authentic.
Without spoiling the ending, there is a cool scene when Maddie uses her “writers voice” to mentally talk out and plan her survival by showing all the outcomes of any action she could take. This is a neat scene, I have not seen in any other thriller film.
Overall, Hush was an incredibly interesting film, Maddie’s fight for survival was tense and exciting. Using a deaf and mute character created a much more interesting story with less verbal communication. Its tight nit setting and spectacular cast made Hush an extremely worthwhile viewing experience.