Synopsis: Still emotionally crippled following a failed relationship, a deaf author retreats to a remote home in the woods so she can work on her second novel. As she struggles to come up with an ending, she soon learns her life is in danger from a masked stranger who has already killed her friend/neighbor and has cut off her ability to call for help.
Movie Review: Hush (2016)
A review of the 2016 thriller starring Kate Siegel and John Gallagher, Jr.
I noticed this movie on Netflix a couple weeks ago but, mostly because I always have doubts about modern-day slasher movies, ended up putting it on my "maybe" list. And, when my wife and I ended up watching this film last night, it was mostly because I was having a hard time finding anything that looked any better. However, as it turns out, this movie was actually a halfway decent thriller.
There are a couple things I found I really liked about this film. The first was the remote setting. It's not like the author (Siegel) could just run out of the house and find a neighbor for help. Leaving on foot meant running through the woods at night while fleeing from someone who was pretty good with the crossbow he carried with him. As soon as the killer (Gallagher, Jr.) eliminated her ability to call or e-mail for help, it created a pretty serious feeling of helplessness.
The fact she was deaf also added much more of an element than I was expecting. He was stalking her at night and her lights were off, creating limited visibility for her. And, since she couldn't hear him, she needed to keep him in her line of sight at all times, something that wasn't overly easy to do.
One thing that also really surprised me about this film was how sadistic the killer was. He wasn't afraid to drag things out, torturing her both physically and mentally, while waiting for the prime opportunity to finish her off. This resulted in some pretty intense scenes, including one involving her hand getting smashed in a door. I actually cringed when I saw that one, and that doesn't happen very often.
Another thing I liked about this movie was the way she actually made an effort to stand up for herself or escape rather than cowering in a corner the whole movie. This is not something that happens in many other films from this genre.
That being said, one of my big pet peeves about this movie was the way the author, Maddie, consistently failed to follow through with her attempts. There were a number of times in the film where the killer was injured, distracted and even preoccupied with someone else and, rather than take advantage of that, she would, instead, back away and flee to another room. After the second or third time she did this (including once toward the very end of the movie), I have to say I was honestly getting a bit angry with her.
I also I wasn't a huge fan of the way this movie ended. This film, like many newer movies I've watched, just ended. There wasn't any sort of attempt to bring closure, either by explaining who the killer was or, at very least, letting us know if she finished her novel (perhaps choosing to write about her experiences instead). Have filmmakers simply forgotten how to do this?
As I said, there were times when she really failed to take advantage of an obvious turn in her favor and the ending could have used a bit more substance. But, overall, I thought this was an intriguing thriller and it is one I would recommend.
My Grade: B
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