Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thoughts on HUSH (Blumhouse) - The Tension Generator

I've been reading a mixed bag of reviews on Hush from Blumhouse. On one side of the spectrum folks just think that this is an ordinary modern slasher flick with a novelty gimmick that does nothing for the picture and is completely wasted on a generic picture. On the other side some people are genuinely scared and find our protagonist's lack of hearing to be an extremely effective way to create tension and unique plot twists that actually prevent Hush from being ordinary.

I fall into the latter of the two camps. I think this picture is just great. Hush really got under my skin and created the proper amount of tension that goes beyond the generic cell phone games played in modern slasher films. The protagonist being without hearing means that we lose one element by which to sense the killer both as an audience member and watching the lead react without the benefit of sound. It also means that the visual excitement is heightened as the our antagonist tries to torture the would be victim to control her. Furthermore, Hush takes that same lead character and throw her in the woods, in the middle of nowhere with few neighbors even remotely close by and the isolation effect is complete much in the same way that The Strangers made me feel trapped. Surely this is something that could get all of our minds turning ever tree branch into the Manson girls.

I was ready for no gore. No real violence or at least boring violence without ingenuity or thought. If people were going to die or be injured, Hush was going to be filled with knife attacks and bludgeoning weapons, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Now Hush is not You're Next that became exceptionally creative in its choice of weapons, but it wasn't boring with its kills. There are several sequences of violence that actually got under my skin and made me downright freaked out. I scrunched up my shoulders and clenched my jaw on at least two occasions in anticipation of violent acts that ended up being even worse than I had imagined they would be.

Kate Siegel does just an amazing job as your lead. She performs well in a difficult role as the deaf victim who has to step up or step off this mortal coil. Her reactions are genuine and offers a strong opposition to an equally twisted adversary. Speaking of the baddie, I wasn't thrilled with the look of the masked killer at first. The choice of generic modified Halloween mask #15 bothered me until I realized it wasn't actually going to be a the focal point of the killer's persona. It was a strange twist that was very important. You're not dealing with a masked killer for most of the killer. He's not a redneck. His motivation seems to be pure nihilism (and not in the Big Lebowski sense of the word).

The end of the movie is filled with tension that may snap your spine. You think you know what's gonna happen and there are even moments where our lead tries to imagine the outcome of the night's events. It isn't obvious with what happens next, and it kept the suspense level high. This goes far beyond the modern hack and slash flicks built around a similar model.

Do yourself a favor and check out Hush. You'll never look at a sliding door the same whether open or closed. Blumhouse can produce some truly excellent Horror pictures or generic crapola that comes off as a money grab. This is clearly a movie about which the filmmakers and distro company felt strongly.

From Blumhouse:


After losing her hearing as a teenager, author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) has lived a life of isolation fully retreating into her now silent world. When the masked face of a psychotic killer appears in the window of her secluded home, she must push herself beyond her mental and physical limits in order to survive the night.

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