When you first look at Hush, you’re going to think that it’s just another home invasion movie in a sea of home invasion movies. However, you would be wrong to think that. Hush actually provides something incredibly unique and interesting in the idea of having our main character (Kate Siegel) of the film being deaf and mute. As the killer stalks her from outside her house, she has to rely on her other senses to track and figure out what to do next. It’s really damn intense at times. John Gallagher Jr., who plays the killer does an incredible job at being pure, unadulterated evil. He has no remorse and no conscience. However, it’s Kate Siegel that shines the brightest as the hunted deaf woman, fearing for her life.
With this movie, I’m going to be doing something different in that I’m offering a review, plus a spoiler filled discussion about Hush. Whether you’ve watched the movie or haven’t yet, this review will have what you’re looking for. So, let’s get this thing going…
A deaf woman is stalked by a psychotic killer in her secluded home.
Hush Spoiler Free Review
It’s amazing how a slight change to a tired plot device can make things seem so much more exciting. By having the main star of the film be deaf and mute (played wonderfully by Kate Siegel), it allows the tired old home invasion flick to become an intense ride. The movie effectively places you in the shoes of Maddie, hardly ever leaving her side, save for a few moments involving an unfortunate visit from a neighbour. The film plays wonderfully with the idea of what would you do if you were in the same position. Fear is certainly front and center for Maddie, not knowing why this masked killer is hunting her. It seems he is just doing it for the fun of things – some will find the lack of a motive a pisser, but it didn’t bother me in the least bit.
Trapped in her house (the film is confined to this set piece at all times), Maddie has to think of ideas to make it out alive, but as her ideas keep getting shot down by the killer, her hope of survival is becoming slimmer and slimmer. Hush actually has you thinking that maybe, just maybe, Maddie may not make it out of this alive. Kudos to writer Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel for that.
I also need to take a quick moment to praise the effective use of music in this movie, or should I say lack of music. There are several moments where the film is silent, which makes thing so much more frightening.
There isn’t much to complain about with Hush, as it’s a straightforward story with a nice twist on the usual tropes of the home invasion idea. Yes, there are times where you’ll be wondering why the killer just doesn’t break a window and enter, but it’s established pretty early on that he is just biding his time, waiting for the right moment to strike. Once he does strike, the flick has you worried for Maddie at several points and puts her through the ringer like there is no tomorrow. It never once felt unreal. Kate Siegel does a fantastic job at portraying the disadvantaged and terrified Maddie, but even with her disadvantages, she still is able to be a strong character who can kick some serious ass when need be. She has barely any dialogue in the film, so she has to rely solely on her actions and facial expressions and with that, she passes with flying colours. John Gallagher Jr. also does a wonderful job as the killer, but in all honesty, this is Kate Siegel’s film.
Hush – Discussion – Spoilers
Hush wastes no time in starting things off with a bang, with the graphic death of Maddie’s friend, Sarah. It comes up suddenly and the viewer hardly has time to prepare for it. (Although, I would like to know why she couldn’t try breaking the glass to get her attention?) After that sudden killing, things slow down a bit as the killer stalks Maddie without her realizing it. Once he figures out she is deaf and alone, he begins to have a field day with her. He first steals her phone, taking photos of her from outside the house. This sets off Maddie to something terribly wrong happening. Maddie finally sees the killer, donned with a white mask – which is removed too quickly in the flick. The killer lets her know she is going to die, but not before he plays with his prey for a bit.
The movie never ventures far outside of the house and surrounding areas, but it does bring in a few other characters into the mix, such as Battlestar Galactica’s Michael Trucco, who gets a sweet surprise that will give you a jump. I did find the showdown with Trucco’s character John and the killer a bit cliche in ways, as Maddie interrupts him at exactly the wrong moment, allowing the killer to get the jump on him, but alas, we wouldn’t have had the awesome latter half of the movie if things happened any other way.
It’s established earlier on that Maddie is an author who loves to think up multiple endings for her books. She has a voice in her head that breaks down different events and scenarios for each ending, analyzing all possible outcomes. This story idea is used later in the movie in a very cool way. Maddie thinks about all the possible ways she could escape the house, with each one resulting in her untimely demise, either at the hands of the killer or her bleeding out from her arrow wound in her leg. The movie tricks you at first, making you think she has been brutally murdered, which I’ll admit frustrated me at first, but once they reveal its just her thinking of all the ways to survive, it came across as pretty damn cool.
Once Maddie realizes the only way to survive is by fighting back and killing this menace, the movie almost invokes a similar feeling to You’re Next. It, however, does enough new to not feel like a direct copycat, though. Kate Siegel is her own strong character and knows how to fight back. I was fist pumping at several moments, such as the amazing bathtub scene involving the killer sneaking up behind her and nearly stabbing her, although I feel she should have gone for a more direct kill shot instead of the stab to the knee as she ended up doing. Once things moved along to the final confrontation, I was worried that poor Maddie might not make it out alive, especially after leaving a clever note on her computer detailing the description of her assailant and a sweet goodbye to her family. Thankfully, though, Maddie kicks some serious ass with all sorts of stuff around the house. She uses bug spray, combined with a super loud fire alarm to get the jump on the killer, ending with a fantastic near death experience and a corkscrew. The final moments of the film had me thinking the last few minutes was going to be a flash forward scenario once again, especially with Maddie’s slight smile, but it was how things went down, which I’m grateful for.
Hush takes a tired idea with the home invasion trope, and spins it on its head by introducing a unique idea. The fact that our heroine in distress can’t hear when and where the killer will strike is a terrifying concept and Hush knows that and plays it up big time. This flick will have you feeling tense long after the credits roll. Give it a watch!