Brief Review: Hush (2016)

A good example of minimalist movie-making, Hush is a well-executed thriller that will keep you hooked during its runtime, but won’t leave a lasting impression.

After meningitis took her voice and hearing at a young age, Maddie (Kate Siegel) carved out a career as an author, honing her craft at her isolated home in the woods.  When a neighbour is brutally murdered on Maddie’s doorstep, the masked killer recognises her disability and decides to play a sadistic game with her.  What follows is a tense conflict between the two. With both characters trying to outsmart each other, the line between hunter and prey becomes blurred.

Hush is something of a mixed bag.  On one hand it’s a very well-crafted thriller, but on the other there’s hardly any story to digest.  It’s literally the cat versus the mouse, with little else.  The plot is so thin that it’s relatively brief runtime feels quite drawn out by the end.

Ironically for a film that’s mostly silent, Hush’s best attribute is the sound design.  Every little sound is crisp and authentic, and it really enhances the tense atmosphere.

The acting is fine. Kate Siegel really sells Maddie’s disabilities well, and while her progression from victim to survivalist is completely telegraphed, she manages to pull it off with aplomb.

John Gallagher Jr.’s killer has no progression whatsoever, which only adds to his mystique.  We aren’t privy to his motivations, we can only assume that he enjoys the hunt.  His constant underestimating of Maddie only strengthens her character and it is capably brought to life by Gallagher Jr.

Despite the wafer thin plot, one can’t help but appreciate Hush for its execution.  It’s a nicely-presented cat and mouse thriller that forgoes traditional jump-scares in favour of real, palpable tension.  However, it would have been much more effective were it to have a little more meat on its bones.

3-stars

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