Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Hush is a home invasion film with the added twist that the victim is deaf. You (like the murderer) might assume that Maddie would be an easy target, but you would be very wrong. The film is successful in playing into many of the typical tropes of its genre, but also doing things slightly differently. Both the killer and the victim are just a bit different than the normal. Right off the bat, the killer assumes that Maddie will be an easy kill, so he resolves to play around with her first, refusing to enter the house until she is begging to die. He makes it clear he enjoys the hunt and the kill. First, he wears an eerie, blank white mask, but takes it off when she tries to reason with him to leave because she hadn't seen what he really looked like. I like this decision because he really is just a person who kills people for sport and isn't a perfect killing machine like Michael Myers. The first part of the film is a cat and mouse game as Maddie tries to escape or get at phone or other helpful resource while she hides from the killer or distracts him. The killer leaves her sick presents at times, but also falls for some of her tricks. One scene that shows his particular prowess is when a neighbor comes over to see what's going on. The killer pretends to be a police officer and tries to bluff his way into fooling the much larger man. He uses every advantage and doesn't play fair.
Maddie is deaf, but it comes with some advantages and disadvantages in this situation. She has to keep a visual on the killer as much as she can because she can't hear him. During the very beginning of the film, Maddie's neighbor is killed while she obliviously washes dishes just inside the window of the murder scene. It shows how vulnerable she is, but she uses other sense to track the killer and keep herself safe. She feels vibrations for his footsteps and feels his breath on the back of her neck at a critical moment. She can use her deafness to her advantage when she sets of the deafening fire alarm that is so loud so the vibrations will wake her if she's sleeping. One of the mental abilities also comes into play that I wish had been used more. She's a mystery writer that can vividly see the possible courses and plot can take and their endings. During a particularly hopeless moment, she imagines her possible actions and their outcomes to find the best course of action. She does have her limitations. She doesn't really know how to stop her bleeding when she gets shot with a cross bow. When she manages to steal that crossbow, she has no idea how to use it and spends precious time trying to figure it out. I also liked that the beginning scene establishes her character in an efficient way while being a fun scene.
Hush is an exciting, tense film that feels just a bit different than all the other home invasion movies out there. The only downside to the film is the wasted mention of Maddie's ex-boyfriend that never really mattered and could have just been removed. Other than that, Hush is a formidable home invasion film. Check it out on Netflix. I am looking forward to more from Mike Flanagan because I've liked Hush and Oculus and I've heard nothing but good things from those who have seen his other films. I'm particularly excited to see Absentia and the upcoming Before I Wake.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins