By Jerome Reuter
Synopsis: A deaf writer becomes the target of a home invasion.
The home invasion thriller—they generally go one of two ways. You either get a product that’s full of terror and paranoia that keeps you on the edge of your set, or you have something with cartoonish villains and a predictable ending. Fortunately, the 2016 film Hush falls into the former of those two categories. Although it’s a sub genre that’s full of several entries, this is one of the better ones you’ll sit down with. If it’s one thing that’s been missing modern horror these past few years, it’s suspense; something this film isn’t lacking in.
Director Mike Flanagan takes us on a journey that’s a complete assault on our senses. This might not be a proverbial game changer, but it’s a breath of fresh air, considering the recent boom in social media based horror.
Our story is focused on a deaf writer living in an isolated location. Straightaway, we have two of the elements that make this film stand out. We have a setting that keeps the terror confined, which builds an atmosphere of paranoia. Second, having a deaf protagonist adds to the fear of the unknown. The pre existing phobia of a home invasion is already a powerful one. There really are few things more terrifying than the thought of our safety being compromised. Being unable to hear what might be going on around you would give anybody an uneasy feeling. Sensory depravation is used here in a brilliant way.
Another element Hush has going for it, is the pacing. It’s the lack of build up that you’ll notice right away during the films first act. We’re introduced to our main character, her profession, and her situation—then the terror begins. Our introduction to our masked antagonist is one that’s surprising, and comes out of left field. It’s the discovery of our unwelcomed guest that’s done in a very unique way. With our lead being deaf, she relies on Skype to communicate with the family and friends. During a conversation with her sister, she notices something that our lead wouldn’t. Finally, social media in a horror film that’s actually done right. It’s something that’s used to advance the plot, not one of the main elements of the story.
It wouldn’t be a home invasion flick without the typical cat-and-mouse game. Thankfully, this film delivers a good one. It’s not so much a chase, as it is a battle of psychological warfare. With sound taken out of the equation, light and shadow are what come into play. All the while our masked assailant toys with his potential victim, much like a cat stalking the goldfish bowl. Truth be told, this scenario plays out surprisingly well, and isn’t as predictable as you might expect.
At the end of the day, this product delivers. It’s one that keeps involved with the story, right until the very end. After watching this one, you’ll make sure your doors are locked before you go to bed.