Hush (2016 film)
Hush is a 2016 American slasher film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan, starring Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote the film with Flanagan. The film co-stars John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, and Emilia "Emma" Graves. It was jointly produced by Trevor Macy through Intrepid Pictures and Jason Blum through Blumhouse Productions.
|Directed by||Mike Flanagan|
|Music by||The Newton Brothers|
|Edited by||Mike Flanagan|
Maddie Young is a deaf woman and horror writer who lost her abilities to hear and speak after contracting bacterial meningitis at age 13, only to lose both permanently after a botched corrective surgery. Hoping to advance her career as an author, she lives an isolated life in the woods with her cat. Her friend Sarah visits her one evening to return a copy of her book. While discussing her writing, Maddie explains how she visualizes her stories, and considers numerous potential endings before deciding on one. Later that night, a masked killer with a crossbow attacks Sarah and chases her to Maddie's house. A bloodied Sarah bangs on the door shouting for help; her cries go unheard because Maddie cannot hear her, and the man stabs Sarah to death.
The man quickly realizes Maddie is deaf and decides to make her another victim. He sneaks into her house, steals her phone, takes photos of her, and sends them to her. As Maddie realizes she is being stalked, the man cuts the power and sabotages her car to prevent escape. Maddie writes "won't tell, didn't see face, boyfriend coming home" on the glass panel door with her lipstick, but the man responds by taking off his mask and revealing his face. Maddie attempts to distract the man with her car alarm long enough to grab Sarah's phone from her body, but fails. Mocking her, the man pockets the phone as well as one of Sarah's earrings.
While attempting to escape through the second story window, Maddie is shot in the leg by the man with a crossbow bolt, but she manages to knock him off the roof and steal the weapon. She staggers back into the house, removing the bolt from her leg before trying to reload the crossbow. John, Sarah's boyfriend, arrives at Maddie's house looking for Sarah. The man confronts John, posing as a police officer responding to a call. He delivers a story of how he was rendered unconscious by an intruder, but John grows suspicious and eventually attempts to attack him from behind with a rock. Just as he's about to strike, Maddie bangs on the window, distracting him and allowing the man to stab him in the neck. As John bleeds to death, he puts the man in a chokehold to buy Maddie enough time to escape. However, Maddie realizes that any attempt to escape or hide will result in her being caught or bleeding to death; her only chance for survival is to kill the man.
Outside, the man catches and threatens Maddie's cat with a knife before he is struck in the shoulder with a bolt. While retreating into the house, she drops the last bolt outside the door. Before she can grab it, the man slams the sliding door shut on her wrist, crushing her hand beneath his boot. Continuing their game of cat and mouse, he allows Maddie to pull her mangled hand inside and close and lock the door. When he threatens to enter the house, Maddie writes "do it, coward" on the door with her own blood. As the man begins bashing the door in with a tire iron, Maddie rushes to her computer, typing up a description of the man and a message to her family. She concludes by writing that she "died fighting" before shutting her laptop, arming herself with a knife, and locking herself in the bathroom.
Failing to break through the door, the man opts to crash through the bathroom skylight unbeknownst to Maddie. She is alerted to his presence when he inadvertently breathes against her neck. She narrowly avoids his attack and stabs him in the knee. Maddie stumbles into the kitchen, where she disorients the man with insecticide and her visual smoke alarm, but he regains the upper hand by strangling her. On the verge of death, Maddie grabs a corkscrew and plunges it into the side of his neck, finally killing him.
Maddie retrieves her cellphone from the man's body and dials 911 before stumbling outside, sitting on the porch steps. Maddie's cat rubs against her and she lovingly strokes the cat. Bathed in the blue lights as the police approaches her, Maddie closes her eyes, pets her cat, and smiles.
Nothing was known about the project until September 2015, when it was revealed at a buyers' screening which occurred at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was revealed Mike Flanagan had directed and written the film, along with his wife Kate Siegel who also stars in it.
On making the main character a deaf mute, Flanagan had said it originated from him wanting to do a movie "without dialogue". The possibility of making the film entirely silent was briefly considered, but was soon abandoned when it was realized that building tension with this limitation would be "impossible"  Flanagan also noted that the target audience would not have been used to silent films and, as such, would "seek out every kind of audio stimulus anywhere else in the environment" or simply choose to not watch the film at all.
The script itself consisted largely of scene directions, which Flanagan and Siegel developed by acting out in their own house. The fact that so much of the script was based around Flanagan and Siegel's own house proved problematic for filming, as when they went to shoot the film in Alabama, they could not find a house similar enough to theirs and had to significantly alter the film's script. Flanagan also found challenges in the single location and had to plan the cinematography to keep the film interesting to the audience, especially given the mute nature of the protagonist; to this end, Flanagan used a Steadicam to follow Siegel's every move, along with a boom mic and a spotter, to make the movement more "dynamic". The resulting audio for these scenes could not be used and had to be redone in post, with Flanagan noting that the audio initially "sounded like a herd of elephants."
To represent Maddie's world, various ambient sounds were used, such as the sound of ultrasound machines. Flanagan did not want to use pure silence for these scenes, as he still felt it would make viewers even more aware of their surrounding and take them out of the experience. As a result of the aforementioned camera set in, Siegel had to ADR her own breath into the final film. The film's soundtrack was composed by The Newton Brothers.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016. Prior to the premiere, Netflix acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film, which it released on April 8.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Hush navigates the bloody waters of home invasion thrillers and incisive slashers for a contemporary horror puree." At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on reviews from seven critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Benjamin Lee of The Guardian said that Hush "offers ingenious suspense" and awarded it four out of five stars. Geoff Burkshire of Variety, though criticizing the film's third act, called it "one of the more inspired concoctions to emerge from the busy Blumhouse horror-thriller assembly line in recent years." Michael Gingold of Fangoria gave the film 3.5/4 stars, calling it "a good old-fashioned truly scary movie". Jasef Wisener of TVOvermind gave the film a 4.7/5, noting that "Thanks to the performances from its two leads, Hush succeeds in almost every aspect and delivers one of the best horror films in modern history."  Richard Newby of the website Audiences Everywhere called the film "a modern slasher movie classic that's not to be missed."
Stephen King wrote about the film on April 20, 2016, saying, "How good is Hush? Up there with Halloween and, even more, Wait Until Dark. White knuckle time. On Netflix." Filmmaker William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, also commented on the film, saying "HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying."
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- Lee, Benjamin (April 14, 2016). "Hush review – nifty home invasion thriller offers ingenious suspense". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
- Burkshire, Geoff (March 13, 2016). "SXSW Film Review: 'Hush'". Variety. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Gingold, Michael (March 13, 2016). ""HUSH" (2016; SXSW Movie Review)". Fangoria. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Wisener, Jasef (April 9, 2016). "'Hush' (2016) Film Review". TVOvermind. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- Newby, Richard (April 12, 2016). "Hush is Brutal and Nuanced". audienceseverywhere.net. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- "Stephen King Gets Loud About HUSH". Dread Central. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- @WilliamFriedkin (5 December 2016). ""HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.