SXSW Review: Hush

From the creator of Oculus comes a film that some are classifying a horror, but could very well be argued to be an action flick. Hush tells the story of a deaf and mute woman living alone in a secluded home with too many windows.  Sure, we know where this is going.  Of course, this woman finds herself trapped when a deranged serial killer comes knocking, which really does nothing because she can’t hear.

Premise aside, this film isn’t predictable.  Some of what one would expect going in are the cliche horror tropes, but instead, we find a strong and very smart female who is willing to not just hide, but make a strategy to get out of her bad situation.  The killer also seems a bit more human and less predictable, taking off his mask very early on revealing really nothing out of the ordinary.  Bent on blood lust for motives unknown, this guy becomes more terrifying throughout the film by not giving up as he takes hit after hit and keeps on going. The ambiguousness of his backstory allows you to create your own, or relish in the fear of the unknown.

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In the Q&A after the screening at South by Southwest, Director Mike Flanagan gave a nod to Die Hard as inspiration, and taking both of these characters and their actions into account, it’s easy to see the relation.

What stuck out most in this movie though, was the sound design. Flanagan could have failed by taking the audience into complete silence allowing for the jump scares in our point of view scenes with Maddie, but instead the sound he chose makes you feel that much more in her head.  In his Q&A he spoke about the layering of sound taking odd sounds like ultrasound noises and mixing them and adding reverb until he came up with a result that is quite effective.

Hush is now available on Netflix.

Grade: B+

Written by: Carrie Cates

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