‘I bet if I hit the right spot… I can make you scream.’
Masked killer stalks vulnerable woman is one of the oldest horror tropes in the book but talented director Mike Flanagan subverts the genre beautifully with Hush. Flanagan made one of my favourite horror films of 2013 with Oculus and it is no surprise he has a talent for the macabre, hailing, as he does, from Salem Massachusetts, home of the infamous Salem witch trials.
Hush finds a deaf woman living in an isolated wooden cabin who is stalked by a masked psychopath. The fact that the protagonist is deaf is an interesting twist but not a gimmick. It allows Flanagan to provide plenty of unique scares without ever feeling like a crutch to fall back on.
The violence in Hush genuinely shocked me and John Gallagher Jr is broodingly creepy as the killer. It’s difficult to get too into Gallagher Jr’s performance without giving anything away but he has made a career out of playing likeable, sweet, romantic leads and it is to his eternal credit that he convinces in such an unfamiliar role.
Leading lady Kate Siegel is married to director Mike Flanagan and they wrote the film together. Siegel is very good throughout and has no trouble in adopting a complete lack of hearing. She shares a believably poisonous chemistry with Gallagher Jr and the deadly game of cat and mouse they play is tense and gripping.
It is the quality of the writing that really sets Hush apart from its peers though. Home invasion films are nearly always frustrating as the central characters continually make unrealistically daft decisions. Flanagan and Siegel have thought their script through properly however and nothing feels forced or unrealistic.
Hush has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and it is easy to see why. It is innovative, unique and entertaining. In a genre that can so often feel tired and repetitive, Hush is a breath of fresh, cold air, chilling the back of your neck…