I was skeptical when I saw the Blumhouse signature, but I have to say that this movie surprised me. Blumhouse typically churns out Friday-night teen horror flicks ridden with jump scares and cheap tricks, but Hush (2016) actually broke out of the typical mold I’m so used to seeing with Jason Blum.
The director, Mike Flanagan, has also worked on 2013’s Oculus – a personal favorite of mine that I think is a masterpiece (and I just learned it evolved out of a 2006 short film!!!) – and 2011’s Absentia, which I also quite enjoyed.
The tension in this film was fabulous. I think the comparison a Bloody Good Horror reviewer made recently (a mixture of The Strangers and You’re Next) is a pretty accurate description of what this movie is. The motive is the same (assumed – it’s really never discussed) as in The Strangers. And, well, let’s be honest – I see a crossbow and I immediately think of You’re Next, though it doesn’t include an all-star cast including Barbara Crampton (I may be biased).
The most masterful part of this film was their use of sound. Being that the protagonist is both deaf and mute, playing with those facts added to the tension. We get to watch while Maddie cooks dinner – silently. We also get to watch as sounds occur and she remains completely unaware – her phone ringing, or the tragic moment when her friend is pounding on her door, begging to be let in. I enjoyed these moments.
The killer was not exactly what I would describe as “refined.” He was off the hinges a bit – in a bad way. He was messy.
An issue I had with him was the mask. Why even wear one if you’re simply going to take it off early into the movie? It made no sense… In fact, I liked the mask. I found it to be more terrifying than seeing the guy’s actual face. I’m not sure what purpose taking it off served.
There were moments I felt were unnecessary. The inclusion of Craig (Maddie’s ex?) was never brought up again. Not quite sure why that was added. I figured they would pull that back in, but nope.
Maddie playing through the possible endings was a clever addition that this horror fan highly appreciated. It wasn’t cheesy or overdone – it worked.
Overall, I have to say that Hush left me pleasantly surprised and satisfied. It certainly wasn’t a film that’s going to change the genre, but dare I say it may signal a change of content coming from Blumhouse? I sure hope so…