On the surface, Mike Flanagan’s “Hush” really shouldn’t work as a feature length film, but curiously it does. Comparisons are already being made to the 1967 film “Wait Until Dark” – and for good reason. Both films are home-invasion thrillers in which the protagonist has to overcome her handicap to make it out alive, however that’s where the similarities end. Despite only be 82-minutes long, Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) was able to build the tension to a heart-stopping level and then leave it to simmer in the audience’s mind, making the film almost feel like it was in real-time. “Hush” doesn’t resort to cheap jump scare tactics like many low-budget horror films tend to do, and there’s no ‘bad guy monologue’ to add a side of cheese to the plate of tension.
After suffering from a bacterial infection at the age of 13, Maddie (Kate Siegel – Man Camp, Demon Legacy) was left deaf and mute. While trying to finish her second novel she retreats to her cabin in the woods for some solitude and time to focus, but her focus soon gets forced elsewhere when she is targeted by a nameless killer (John Gallagher Jr. – 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Newsroom). Flanagan doesn’t mess around, and Maddie and the nameless killer come face to face very early on in the runtime. It doesn’t take the nameless killer long to figure out Maddie’s disability, and he tries to take full advantage of that to fulfil his sick, psychotic, and murderous desires.
Co-written by Flanagan and Siegel, “Hush” offers a series of twists and surprises which generally work for the most part. With so much tension and the numerous directions the film can go in, it’s definitely a case of the less you know about “Hush” the more enjoyable you will find it. By no means does it reinvent the horror genre, but at the very least it adds a new branch to the tree.