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I can see you through the window.
I can see you through the door.
I could speak and mark my presence
As I’ve often done before,
Yet you’d heedlessly ignore.

I could detail all the lurid
Games I plan to play with you,
But my words would all be wasted
While you never had a clue,
While I linger out of view.

I could hover right behind you,
So amused you cannot hear,
But if I proceed too quickly,
It would be a waste of fear.
Never do I waste, my dear.

So enjoy your ignorance,
The bliss of danger still concealed.
Soon I’ll get to see it shatter
When my secret is revealed.
Then you’ll know your fate is sealed.

MPAA rating:  R (for violence and brief language)

I haven’t been able to watch many movies specifically for Halloween this year, but I always intended this Blindspot for October. Among my Blindspots, Hush represents not only the horror genre but a subgenre I’ve intentionally avoided for the most part: the slasher. I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever seen a true slasher film. (I’m not counting something like Alien or The Terminator, which might technically fit some of the requirements but have additional science fiction elements that set them apart). Actually, I might take that back, since I just thought of Psycho and Audrey Hepburn’s Wait Until Dark, though I’m not sure those fully qualify. Yet, just as Wait Until Dark was unique in pitting its killers against a blind woman, Hush does the same in making the target a deaf woman and using that important detail to its advantage.

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Hush has a brilliance of economy to it, with a minimum of dialogue and only five speaking roles. Kate Siegel (the wife of the director Mike Flanagan) plays Maddie Young, a reclusive novelist in true Stephen King fashion (one of King’s books can be spotted early on), and her attempts at cooking provide a brief glimpse into what it’s like in a world with no sound. While it feels odd to not hear a frying pan sizzling, it’s much more alarming to not hear a masked psycho outside your window. Before this killer (John Gallagher, Jr.) makes his presence known, his stalking is utterly creepy considering how oblivious Maddie is, but the tension still remains high even after she becomes aware of the threat.

Hush is very much a game of cat and mouse, with Maddie testing how best to escape while the killer cuts off every chance with only his sadism keeping him from simply breaking into the house. He intentionally toys with her, boasting every advantage, including sound, and it was a genuine thrill to see how she turns the tables on him while never veering into unrealistic territory. What I most appreciated was how well the plot played out visually. Since Maddie is deaf and mute, most of her confrontations with the killer are wordless, made more intense by the absence of screaming you’d expect from a horror movie.

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Unfortunately, Hush was rather bloodier than I typically like, with one little twisty shock and several bloody injuries being exchanged, but it was an enjoyable horror-thriller, even if it may adhere to some typical slasher conventions, as far as I know them. There were no hateful characters (aside from the killer) or annoyingly dumb decisions, and the acting was strong and entirely believable. Though he doesn’t wear it that long, even the killer’s mask is effective, resembling Michael Myers’ visage but with a slight smile that reflects the playful malevolence of the psycho behind it.

Since I’m not counting Psycho, it probably doesn’t mean much to say this is the best true slasher film I’ve seen (#1 of 1!), but it’s a good Halloween find all the same. Aside from disliking the gruesomeness, I suppose I’ve avoided the genre due to how many bad movies it seems to churn out, but I’m glad my first sampling was a high-quality breath-catcher like Hush. Now, if you’ll excuse me, some of us have to stay silent and hide from those trick-or-treaters lurking outside.

Best line:  (Maddie) “….”

(I love how that’s actually listed as a quote on iMDB!)


Rank: List Runner-Up


© 2018 S.G. Liput
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