Maddie Young has proven that the fact she is mute hasn’t stopped her from having a voice. Residing in a somewhat isolated woods, she spends most of her days focusing on her craft as an accomplished writer. One night she encounters a home intruder who stalks from outside her walls. Being deaf only adds to the suspense in this innovative thriller that removes a key sense that most of us take for granted.
Eliminating the ability to hear for the main character truly elevates “Hush” beyond its home invasion rivals. Though it comes to the downfall of Maddie, it opens the doors for so many possibilities, many of which are taken advantage of. The film opens up with minuscule tasks being performed like chopping asparagus, removing garlic cloves from its bulb and the opening of a bottle of wine. The noises of these actions are accentuated to the highest degree with brilliant sound design, only to be exchanged for a low ambient wave. There’s never a true moment of silence as these bellowing tones are interwoven into scenes of suspense, thus becoming the backbone of the score.
I’m not one to have an expert opinion on whether “Hush” does a worthy job at portraying a character that is deaf, but from my standpoint, it felt genuine. Even though to a nonhearing impaired individual it may seem like a great performance the deaf community has shown backlash for the film deciding not to cast an actual actor that is deaf. Nevertheless, Kate Seigel knows how to play both scared and determined in yet another fantastic character study of the modern woman who combats her assailant. We do get to hear her voice when she’s reading or thinking in her mind. It’s done in a way that the voice is echoed; giving it a small sense of unclarity to it that fits the situation.
The presentation of setups and delivery is quite applaudable for a straight to video movie. Early on Maddie is seen using facetime and text messages to communicate with others who are not in her vicinity. Playing off her deafness, stalking scenes go beyond suspenseful as Maddie is oblivious to the terror that is steps behind her. These instances make you tense up as you try to predict if the killer is going to pounce or return back into the shadows. This trope of the unsuspecting victim has never worked so well. She has to use vision alone to detect her stalker.
The killer works well in his own right; having intelligence while susceptible to making mistakes. The mask is simple yet efficient when it comes to being scary as the off white humanoid face has a creepy smile. He’s not there for a quick kill, but more to toy with her from start to finish- eerie to say the least.
This confined horror flick hasn’t been heard by much but may have been seen floating around the Netflix menu when browsing for something to watch. ‘Hush’ doesn’t fully break the mold of the traditional home invasion, but adds enough layers to make it stand out as one of the better introductions to the sub-genre. Running about an hour and 20 minutes, it’s a quick thrill ride perfect for a night of terror.