The 2016 horror film ‘Hush’ takes the standard home invasion story and adds a little twist to the heroine who undergoes extreme duress. Now on Netflix viewers can watch the story of mute writer Maddie, played startlingly by Kate Siegel, who living alone in a forest cabin while she contemplates the endings of both her current novel in process, and a recent relationship. Unable to hear or communicate Kate finds her silent and peaceful life in full peril as an unknown butcher traps her in her home and begins to take pleasure in tormenting her until he’s done with her.
Written by Kate Siegel and her husband Mike Flanagan,who also directs the film, ‘Hush’ is a mixed bag of the same familiar agonized victim fighting to make it through the night against an evil individual who decides, for unknown and unexplained reasons, pick her out as his next casualty. All the same problems plague this film as nearly every other horror film. Huge holes in the plot, in the motivations in the characters, and in the actions of characters are deemed unnecessary to explain, deemed unimportant, or flat out just left wide open in extremely frustration ways. Why did Maddie find it necessary for a mute woman to move out to the woods by herself after break up? How did her family, including her sister who she Skypes with, even allow her to make such a decision? Why is the psychotic man attacking Maddie and her neighbors out in the woods? How did he get there seeing as no vehicle is ever shown? What does he get out of killing innocent people?
While Kate Siegel as Maddie makes the film, viewers will find themselves once again screaming at the screen as the character doesn’t finish up with her defensive attacks on the deranged man. Siegel convinces you she truly is deaf and unable to speak. She looks terrified as she struggles to survive the night. She even looks defeated and accepting when she realizes the only way she will survive is by fighting back, and even that doesn’t look likely. With out making a sound Siegel manifests every feeling she goes through including the horrific pain when she suffers extensive injuries. You literally cringe and feel As Maddie, viewers are given a very tough, intelligent heroine that you legitimately root for. She’s the damsel in distress but also the tough woman that today’s female viewers want to see on screen.
John Gallagher Jr. plays Maddie’s tormentor, known only as Man. With his mask on he looks extremely creepy and psychotic, when the mask comes off he looks like a street thug loser off his meds. He looks dangerous and does an excellent job of portraying a man who has no remorse in the actions he perfomers. He scares the audience by making it obvious that Maddie is nothing but a new plaything for him and it is only a matter of time before he grows tired of her.
Mike Flanagan’s direction adds plenty of terrifying and distrubing scenes. He knows how to play on the audience’s fears, with scenes like having Man standing tapping on the glass with Maddie not seeing, and unable to hear, him. Other scenes have him standing right behind her and the poor mute girl still unaware of his presence, which drives goosebumps up and down your skin. Flannagan makes most of the events believable and films at the right angles to make you feel like you are in the scene with Maddie, which makes it all the more fun, and horrific.
‘Hush’ brings scenes that bring enough scares and a new element of a mute girl being victimized. The acting delivers but too much of the film suffers from the same lack of information or frustrating reactions that so many horror films before have had. ‘Hush’ is worth a watch and you’ll enjoy the majority of the film, most likely because you’ve seen it many times before, the only new addition is the heroine, who literally can not call for help.