“If you can’t run and you can’t wait, the only option left is to fight.”
Hush is a 2016 American horror thriller film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan, starring Kate Siegel, and written by both.
Madison “Maddie” Young (Kate Siegel), is a young deaf author. She lost her hearing and voice after a bout of bacterial meningitis at age 13. She lives in an isolated house in the woods. Her friend and neighbour Sarah (Samantha Sloyan) visits her one day to return a copy of her book Later that night, Sarah is chased back to Maddie’s house by a masked man (John Gallagher Jr.). Sarah bangs on the door for help, but Maddie can’t hear her. The man stabs her to death.
The man quickly realizes that Maddie is deaf and decides to make her another victim. He sneaks into the house, takes her phone. He begins taking photos of her and sending them to her laptop to make her aware of his presence. As Maddie realizes she’s being stalked, she locks herself inside the house. The man cuts the power and sabotages her car.
Maddie writes that she “won’t tell, didn’t see face, boyfriend coming home” on the glass-panelled front door in lipstick. The man responds by taking off his mask and saying that she has seen his face now. He then taunts her by propping Sarah’s body up against her bedroom window. Maddie tries to distract him with her car alarm. Then she attempts to get Sarah’s phone before he returns, but fails.
She then makes several failed attempts to escape, eventually climbing onto the roof. The man fires a crossbow bolt into her leg. She manages to knock him off the roof and steal his crossbow. She staggers back into the house and tries to load the crossbow. Sarah’s boyfriend John (Michael Trucco) arrives, looking for Sarah. The man meets John, pretending that he is a police officer. John realizes the trick and attempts to attack the man from behind with a rock. Before he can, Maddie bangs on her door to get his attention. This distracts him and enables the man to stab him in the neck.
As he bleeds out, John uses his remaining strength to put the man in a chokehold. This would give Maddie time to escape. Unfortunately, she realizes she can’t run on her injured leg. She’s also in danger of bleeding out. Maddie begins thinking through her options but realizes she can’t escape nor hide. Her only hope for survival is killing the man.
Hush is a well-thought out movie with a simple plot. While the film does inevitably go down routine routes with the story, Flanagan does so with skill and finesse. Multiple times throughout the film we are in Maddie’s shoes as Flanagan completely mutes the audio. We can see the terror happening around her but cannot hear it. The killer could be entering the house at any moment. But like Maddie we have no idea if he has or not. The director manages to keep the viewer in suspense throughout the whole film. While there are some gory and squeamish scenes, he doesn’t rely on them.
Maddie is a likeable character and refreshingly makes some smart decisions. But, she definitely makes some dumb ones too. My main criticism of the film is the killer. He has no clear motive, just simply pops out of the blue. And my god, is he stupid. If I was Maddie I would be insulted to be murdered by such an idiotic tool. Overall, Hush is a brilliant film but not without some flaws. If you’re looking for suspense and a unique protagonist, then you can certainly find it here.