Hush has all the generic elements of a home invasion movie. It also has a protagonist who is vulnerable in more ways than one. But still, it somehow stands tall among a mired of home-invasion films. It’s nifty tactics & engaging screenplay keeps you on the edge of your seat; even when it’s trying too hard to scare you away. Hush is probably the best home invasion film since Adam Wingard’s You’re Next. Mike Flanagan, who previously made another interesting, although not entirely satisfying film in Oculus, don’t leave any stones un-turned this time around. He completely brings you into a solitary house in the midst of a hefty wood-stock, before everything starts in full throttle.
As Maddie (Kate Siegel) prepares her meal, the camera hangs around the various dishes, moving faster than it should, already warning you that a serious showdown is under the wraps. Maddie is deaf and mute. She has shut everything in her life out, as she wishes to be a well-known novelist. While she is deftly involved in writing, or let’s say ending her novel; she is paid a visit by a friend. Which is shortly followed by a psychotic, completely obnoxious stranger who doesn’t even want to kill her just yet. The most sinister part of this guy is that he wants to tag along with a game of cat and mouse until shit hits the fan.
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The restricted premise of Hush doesn’t give into a lot of grander ideas that can be manipulated into a film. But there are two things that work in its favor. Firstly, Maddie being deaf and mute gives it that incredible advantage of setting up all the things to give you an effective, bone-chilling thriller. Secondly, it doesn’t bother the audience with most of the cliches that are found in home-invasion films. Jump scares being one of them. The film mostly indulges in the back and forth between the two opponents. It plays like a cat and mouse game, where the cat chases down the mouse showing the occasional concern or dis-concern about being trapped out of the house.
John Gallagher Jr. who plays the invader is quite possibly the only person you will detest from the moment the film starts. His insanity doesn’t end at chasing the girl in and out of her humble abode. There is an initial warning where he says he won’t enter the house just yet; it quite possibly shows that he enjoys what he is doing and doesn’t mind scaring the protagonist to death. Kate Siegel is brilliant as the deaf and mute girl Maggie, she is constantly delirious & rebukes to the fact that her communication necessities have been cut off. Kate who has also co-written the film constantly plays with her own self. In a very captivating scene; there is a run for the money on her account and she readily indulges the audience to vouch for her.
Hush is not the kind of film that makes a whole lot of sense. Take the antagonist’s motivations to kill Maggie for instance; it’s darkly funny to think about it from the audience’s perspective. Was he just having fun? Why would he choose to kill random people in the middle of nowhere? He isn’t shown to be psychologically inept, even though he feels and acts so.
Also, Read – Mute : Voiceless. Soulless. Pointless.
But director Mike Flanagan very cleverly keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats by throwing in constant ambiguities their way. Though they don’t form a very strong point, the scribbling on the crossbow does concern you. There are times in the film when you cheer for the girl, Mike ensures to slowly build up Maggie as a badass and he does it so convincingly that you will be scared to death when you see a deaf and mute girl who has not yet written an ending to her own story; especially when she has 7 of them to choose from!