Looking Back at 2010s Films: Hush (2016)

1 Oct

HUSH16REV

By Tanner Smith

Continuing my series of posts about 2010s films I really like, “Hush” is my personal favorite Netflix Original film…no really.

This film was directed by Mike Flanagan, one of my favorite directors working today–he also made “Oculus,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” “Before I Wake,” “Gerald’s Game,” and the upcoming “Doctor Sleep.” (He’s also the creator of “The Haunting of Hill House.”)

Here’s the premise–a home-invasion thriller in which the victim who becomes a fighter is deaf and mute.

I was hooked from that premise alone. And I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I’ll even say that “Hush” is one of my favorite horror films, period. (There’s one I like just a little bit more that’ll end up on my best-of-the-2010s list.) I love watching it every now and then, especially at night, because it’s a real good time.

Three things in particular make this film a winner to me in terms of the horror genre. One is Maddie, played terrifically by co-writer Kate Siegel (who’s now Mrs. Mike Flanagan). She’s a compelling heroine who’s not only easy to sympathize with because she can’t speak or hear but also easy to root for because she’s smart and thinks of several different outcomes she could attempt in a desperate situation. She’s a writer, so she knows a thing or two (or seven) about story-endings. And it’s up to her to choose the one that ultimately results in her survival. Plus, she’s not always vulnerable–she uses her limited skills to her advantage. Maddie’s actually a badass when the chips are down.

Another thing is, we know nothing about the guy that’s outside making life hell for her, standing outside her house, mocking her, killing those who may be able to help. You expect a twist like, “It’s her ex-boyfriend she’s been avoiding!” But the twist here is…there is no twist. This guy is just some psycho who decided to have sick, twisted fun one night. He starts off with a menacing mask to cover his face, and then after Maddie tries to bargain with him to make him go away (“DIDN’T SEE FACE”), he TAKES OFF THE MASK TO REVEAL HIS FACE TO HER. (“You’ve seen it now, haven’t you?”) And he tells her he can come into the house anytime he wants but he’ll wait until she wishes she was dead. We know nothing about this guy–just that we want him to go away and leave her alone. To quote “Scream,” “It’s a lot scarier when there’s no motive.”

And finally, this home-invasion thriller is more of a battle of wits because we know the danger Maddie is in and we know The Intruder has the advantage of hearing. The entire mid-section of the film is practically dialogue-free, and Flanagan’s directing and Siegel’s performance makes for a great example of visual storytelling.

Great stuff here. If you have a Netflix account, I highly recommend you check out Hush if you haven’t already. Don’t just take my word for it. Take it from Stephen King, who gave Hush a shoutout on Twitter: “How good is HUSH? Up there with HALLOWEEN and–even more–WAIT UNTIL DARK. White knuckle time. On Netflix.”

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