Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel
Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, and Emma Graves
Hush is a 2016 slasher film directed by Mike Flanagan, who also co-wrote the screen play with the star of the film, Kate Siegel. Flanagan would also go on to make several modern horror classics, from Stephen King adaptations Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep, to Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass. The second you see Flanagan’s name on something you know it’s going to be good, and Hush isn’t an exception. It’s a very strong and chilling modern slasher film that takes the genre right back it to its roots, cutting out anything supernatural and creating something fuelled by pure terror.
Siegel stars as Maddison Young, a writer who was left deaf and mute after suffering from meningitis as a child. She’s recovering from a bad relationship by moving out into the middle of nowhere, while working on her next book. She’s become friends with her next-door neighbour, Sarah (Samantha Sloyan), who’s also become a fan of her work. While Maddison is struggling to select an ending for her latest book a random man (John Gallagher Jr) murders Sarah right outside her house. He then chooses Maddison as his next target, taunting her slowly.
The film essentially becomes a cat and mouse game, with Maddison trying to escape from the house while the unnamed man stalks around outside waiting to strike. There’s no given motive for why he’s attacking her, other than he wants to. Unlike a lot of slashers there’s nothing supernatural about him and there’s no traumatic past. This is a completely random killing, and it makes everything that much more suspenseful. The mask that the man wears initially is also incredibly creepy.
Both Kate Siegel and John Gallagher Jr. are really great in their roles. Gallagher Jr. is menacing and fells scary, while you’re completely invested in Siegel’s character willing her to survive. The writing is really great, especially at the beginning when it sets up Maddison. You’re never told the full story of why she’s there, but there’s more than enough hints through dialogue and actions that make it obvious. It’s subtle and feels completely natural. There are some incredibly tense moments throughout the film as well as the man attempts to kill her. Long sequences of chilling terror that’s masterfully created. The way that the power balance slowly tips is really well done.
What really lets it down is, despite only being an hour and twenty minutes long, it really struggles to fill that time. For a lot of it you’re just wandering why isn’t the man breaking the windows? Especially since she wouldn’t be able to hear it. Why doesn’t he just kill her right away without taunting her? It’s not the biggest issue, because the rest of the film is so good, but it is a constant niggle.
Hush is a really good horror film, let down by just a few bits that feel forced just to keep the plot moving. The cast and characters are great and when it’s in full force, it’s great. Definitely worth watching.
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