AUSTIN VAN PAY | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST
Rating: 5/5 Stars
In 2013, Mike Flanagan came onto the scene with “Oculus,” his feature film debut. The film was mind-bending, intense and executed very nicely. Flanagan made an excellent first impression for me, and I was optimistic about his future in the horror genre and film in general.
Now, three years later in 2016, Flanagan returns with another unique horror film, but it’s not for the big screen this time. “Hush” is a Netflix film that has been announced to be exclusive to the ultra-popular streaming site. The story is basic but really turns the home-invasion genre on its head.
Madison Young is a young author who at the age of 13 was a victim of bacterial meningitis, which caused her to lose both her hearing and speaking capabilities. She resides in a small cottage in the woods practically alone, with only her distant neighbor Sarah and her kitty, who’s appropriately named “Bitch,” as company. One night while Madison is writing her newest novel, she’s visited by a masked man who quickly finds out that Madison is unable to hear him is then determined to make Madison wish she were dead. He preys on her in her secluded home, and she’s forced to fight for her life through the silence.
“Hush” does a great job of building the tension and utilizing Madison’s handicap throughout the film to add some great sequences of her perspective. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to have a horror film that doesn’t try to throw jump scares in your face constantly but rather build fear through pure tension and intensity. “Hush” does a service to the genre and gives you a pure adrenaline rush during its brief 87-minute run time.
The masked killer in this film is developed very well, and he really becomes this sinister and menacing figure. John Gallagher Jr., who plays the killer, does a fantastic job and really makes you feel disgusted by his actions. Alongside him is the character of Madison, who is actually played by director Mike Flanagan’s wife, Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote this film. You truly root for her character, and you desperately want her to survive through this whole ordeal. She is smart and creative while fighting back against the masked menace.
Mike Flanagan has crafted yet another great horror-thriller film and continues to support my high hopes that I have had for his films. “Hush” delivers what thriller fans crave and even adds a unique twist to spice things up. It’s a great example of how to do this type of film right. Be sure the next time you’re browsing Netflix to make this film your top priority.