Hush movie full length review - Interesting Plot, Questionable Execution
The reason I really wanted to watch this film was the plot of it. Deaf mute woman is threatened, pursued and attacked by a crazy guy in an isolated cabin (my personal favorite in the house-invasion genre.
) I had high hopes for the film and Flanagan's execution of it. I didn't much like Oculus but I was sure the plot alone would suffice and compensate for any shortcomings this movie may possess. I was wrong.
Hush begins with an introduction to the protagonist, Maddie, a deaf mute writer. We are immediately assaulted with a barrage of evidence that Maddie is in a "complicated relationship" with some dude named Craig. We then come to know that her friend worries about her due to her isolated existence (the reasons for which are never truly explained.) While Maddie writes her novel, a man breaks into her house, steals her phone and stands around for long enough to hear half the conversation she has with said concerned friend on Facetime. He then walks out as if he owns the damn place. The panic begins soon after in the form of initial menacing images of Maddie in her lounge sent to her laptop by her stolen phone. Terror ensues.
My main problem with this movie is just that; the man waltzes into her house, walks around, steals her phone and listens to her conversation with her friend? Like, damn, I know she's deaf but IS HE ALSO INVISIBLE? There are several scenes like that where the world is falling apart around our protagonist without her taking even the slightest bit of notice. One could argue that since she lost her ability to hear at the age of 13 instead of it being a birth defect, the fact that she doesn't notice a man standing literally 10 feet behind her is justifiable. But even so, for the sake of the movie, there is an immense number of cool things they could have done with her sensory defect. They could have used it to her advantage, shown how she gets the upper hand on the killer because of this problem or is just generally more aware with her other senses (vision, touch, olfactory even) and uses this to her advantage, the one thing the killer never sees coming. Instead the hearing loss is used to make her seem downright stupid in some scenes. Take a page from Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman, why don't you?
The characters and the things they did made me yell. "Pick up that knife!" "Don't go outside!" "Turn the power back on somehow!" "Pick up that DAMN KNIFE!" There were a good many situations in which Maddie could have stabbed her killer. I counted at least 2. Furthermore, in the beginning of the movie, she tells the intruder that her boyfriend is coming. But that's never really the case in home invasion films, is it? (Jennifer Hills, anyone?) How interesting would it be if instead of relying on things the audience has seen a billion times before, the boyfriend actually did show up and affected the plot somehow?
Despite this, it kept me watching and even though I was annoyed, I was eager to see how it would all turn out in the end. The finale is intense and gory. For a second, the audience really doesn't know which direction the ending might go. The issue I have with Hush is that it relies heavily on slasher film clichés. Single female, masked madman, best friend's murder, no phone/power, general stupidity of its characters, a lot of hiding and running. The one original thing the filmmakers had to offer, they forgot to utilize it to it's fullest extent. Hell, I even forgot she's deaf in some scenes! It seems more like a random fact than anything which may affect the plot of the film.
Much like Oculus, the film had an interesting premise but the filmmakers had no idea what to do with it. It could have went so many ways but instead it chose to become a poorly executed mess of a slasher film lacking depth, substance or originality.