Like an unfaithful spouse, our mind can betray us when all the lights go out. In the darkness, as we wait for sleep, our senses fight to block out the noise of the living world. All the creaks of the floorboard and drips from a leaky faucet, have a harmless source. But our mind’s eye does not see them, rather we conjure up a man with an ax in hand, ascending the staircase to the rhythm of our heartbeat. The dark may blind our eyes, but not our imagination. Hush, now on Netflix, reintroduces the fear of home invasion many anguish over, with a twist. It is a chilling tale that feels unnervingly familiar.
Maddie, a young novelist, spends her days in isolation, working tirelessly on her new novel. She inhabits a home with large glass doors in the middle of the woods, that would make any predator salivate. Her communication with the outside world is limited to texts and Skype with her sister and neighbor. On a seemingly ordinary night an intruder approaches looking to kill for sport. He creeps by the windows, quietly stalking his prey, contemplating when ‘The most dangerous game’ will commence. Maddie initially appears to be the perfect helpless victim; she is both deaf and mute. We, like the killer, underestimate Maddie’s resilience and desire to live despite her inability to hear.
The film could have easily indulged in the depraved gore so many similar flicks feel the need to explore. While Hush certainly has its moments, it stays fairly restrained– giving the audience more suspense and dread than outright violence. It takes us methodically through the paces of the horrific night – the killer wants Maddie dead but is in no rush–savoring the terror. Hush allows Maddie to utilize her strengths drawn from being deaf and a writer, giving the storytelling a uniquely satisfying spin.
In a nut shell: Hush is a horror film for ‘beginners’ looking to get into the genre. It is just foreboding enough to effectively scare you without much gore and those heart dropping “jump” moments. This is a dark film that stays in the literal shadows. It is one bloody satisfying movie that will leave you double checking your locks and windows shortly before the nightmares set in. (3.5 out of 4)