15 – 81mins – 2016
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
Struggling to decide upon one of seven alternative endings to her sophomore novel, death-mute author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) enjoys the solitude of her cabin in the woods, with only one neighbouring dwelling she is otherwise completely cut off from the hustle and bustle of city life.
But when a crossbow-wielding mad man (John Gallagher Jr.) chooses the vulnerable singleton as his latest victim, will Maddie come to rue the day she eschewed civilisation? Or will her savage attacker be taken aback by a twist in this resilient author’s tale?
Wringing maximum tension, terror and originality from limited restraints, Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil writer-director Mike Flanagan has teamed up with his wife, co-writer and star Siegel, to hone a striking shocker with only one location, (largely) two lead actors and scant dialogue. Little time is wasted on superfluous padding (Maddie clearly has a strained history with Facetime companion Craig, but after two missed calls their relationship is never expanded upon) while the creepy antagonist is never even named, much less given any motivation for his heinous crimes.
Instead Hush excels in the moment, intensifying the advantages and disadvantages of Maddie’s disability with heightened foley sound effects in post-production to immerse you in her stimuli-skewered world. While Maddie does seem remarkably inventive for one so distressed, you empathise with her ballsy determination against a faceless, taunting foe.
While small in scale, Hush is big in ideas, quickly quietening any fear of repetition in the slight plot. The use of violence and gore is bloody ghastly – even in instances where Maddie is playing out potential scenarios in her head. This is a creative and superior genre piece which has me excited for Flanagan’s next gig: adapting Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game.
CR@B’s Claw Score: