Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Mike Flanagan's, Hush

of 9 viewers "Liked" "Hush" (USA, 2016)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

KillDozer - "Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) brings us yet another exciting journey into the darkness. Not a "one trick pony," Flanagan always delivers something new in the way of genre film making, proving he is not only an artist but a fan as well. Hush has the incredible acting talent of John Gallagher (10 Cloverfield Lane) and Kate Siegel (Oculus) who pull off amazing performances. The premise of Hush is not new by any means. The plot is "cat and mouse" story and even though we have seen this before, a truly talented film maker is able to present it in a way that still captivates and keep the audience emotionally and mentally invested till the final credits roll. The sound and editing are beautifully done in a way that truly enhances the experience. Strong realistic practical effects make the violence that much more cringe worthy as we actually care about who is being stalked. The dialog is intelligent and the audience is treated with respect. I can't wait to see where Mike Flanagan takes us next." - 4 stars (collection worthy)

Book Wyrm - "I'm just glad the cat didn't die. Also her home is amazing and the whole scenario was terrifying. I enjoy home invasion movies and this was extra suspenseful." - 4 Stars

Math Mage - "Well written Cat & Mouse film with many inspired moments but a general lack of suspense." - 3 Stars 

Lord Battle - "Two horror sub-genres Flanagan have now flipped on their head, the first being the ghost story with Oculus and now home invasion with Hush! Mike Flanagan should be on every horror fan's radar and,  like Hush, Netflix should support all his films." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "Kate Siegel carries Hush so well that I didn't even realize there were only four people in the entire film! It was very easy to relate to her character, even though she and I don't have anything immediately in common. And when she started making decisions I'd never make, I couldn’t stop squirming in my seat." - 4 Stars

Clark Little - "Utilizes a unique device that elevates familiar territory. Like Pineapple on a burger. You have your doubts, but it works." - 4 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "Hush is good on so many different levels that I was immediately drawn in. This was a pretty terrifying situation to see unfold and I found myself cringing out of fear more often than I would like to admit. The film is well written and doesn't waste anything for the sake of shock and awe. Even the smallest of actions carries weight here and there are a couple stories being told below the surface. Definitely watch this movie." - 5 Stars

Dabbles - "This movie has a really good concept and was awesome. I've been a fan of John Gallagher since Newsroom and his take on a killer was awesome. This one is a must see and totally gets everything with the idea of being at a disadvantage." - 5 Stars

The Impostor - "Hush had me holding my breath from beginning to end. Simple home invasion premise but what makes it interesting is that the lead character is deaf. Kate Siegel did an amazing job portraying a deaf mute, her acting is what kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I imagined so many potential endings and was surprised by the logic and resourcefulness of some of the decisions the lead made, being that she couldn't scream, talk or hear. Overall I highly recommend Hush. I'm definitely looking forward to Mike Flanagan's next film out later this year, Before I Wake." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Several of the creatures that frequent the Overlook have referred to Hush as a Cat & Mouse story... and I not only disagree but I think it steals the genius from Flanagan’s film. I would personally refer to Hush as a Cat & Fish narrative, not only because of the adaptation of the hunt, but to accentuate the turn of phrase being twisted. Instead of running through the house, the stalker circles around it menacingly, looking for a way in. Meanwhile, the victim avoids his stare and frantically looks for an escape. But just as with a cat and fish, neither is really possible.
Hush is all about playing with expectations and what the audience knows their favorite genre better than horror fans? This can be a huge problem when dealing with cinematic expectations, as horror fans will walk into a home invasion film looking to be entertained but also surprised, but not too surprised…
An example of too surprised would be Friday the 13th’s 10th installment Jason X. Audiences complained about being fed the same film over and over again, so when Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine 2009, Drive Angry) removed Jason in a very dramatic way, he paid for it with tons of criticism, despite having made a solid Friday the 13th film.
The stalker in Hush is constantly playing with audience expectations. From the moment he first appears, the audience is already trying to figure out who he is and with what we have to work with, it's got to be Craig. He’s the only male we’ve been introduced to and Maddie’s obviously had an emotional relationship with him at some point. And aren’t 80% of crimes committed by someone you know? All this speculation goes nowhere as you can pretty quickly see that the stalker is a white male, which Craig isn’t. Now suspence and especially fright can be avoided by an audience member playing detective, or rather distracting themselves so they don’t get to caught up in the film emotionally. The beautiful thing about Hush is that a half hour in the stalker reveals himself, and he’s nobody. Fans of the home invasion genre will know this isn’t anything new, "Because you were home" may ring a bell or two but they never revealed their identity. This idea of removing the mask is symbolic of taking the fun out of a slasher. We no longer are witnessing a monster terrorizing an immoral victim, now we are just watching a random act of violence and the film is kind of making the point that this is what we as horror fans like.
There are plenty more examples of the writers playing with our expectations such as opening the film without sound, Maddie’s use of the flashlight, and her mother's voice being an oppressive one. But the other moment I have to address is when the stalker catches Bitch (Maddie’s cat). Here is a brief excerpt from an interview Bloody Disgusting did with Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel, where this topic comes up (Trevor Macy and Jason Blum where also there and chimed in occasionally).

Flanagan: Or a dog. People go nuts when you try to kill a dog.

Blum: Across the board, people are much more upset about killing a dog as opposed to killing a person.

Macy: Yeah I wouldn’t let him kill the dog in Oculus.

BD: I thought you were going to kill that dog, too. I also though you would kill the cat in Hush.

Blum: Cats are okay. People don’t care as much about cats.

Flanagan: That was the other point we had made. We knew people would be upset if it was a dog but a cat, people would be like “Whatever.”

Hush doesn’t just play with home invasion tropes, it also gives one of the most believable survivor girl transformation ever. Maddie seriously earns her life by the end of Hush, having come full circle from novice cook to novice hunter, from writing in lipstick to writing in blood, and from being the victim to being the victor. I highly suggest re-watching Hush and paying close attention to the way the story is told, just like how Oculus had a narrative that required verbal and visual storytelling.

-Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

1 comment:

  1. The masked man really should have thrown a rock through the glass. Regrets.