Mike Flanagan’s Hush
by the Bubonic Illiterate
Mike Flanagan’s 2016 survival-slasher film Hush recycles a killer-at-the-door storyline by giving it an impairment. Though Hush is set against a backdrop of familiar circumstances—girl is home alone, home is a house in the woods, lunatic with unknown motive is trying to kill girl—the film’s heroine, Maddie, can’t be typecast as your typical horror lead. She’s an isolated novelist struggling to surpass her first novel, and, most refreshingly, her greatest non-clichéd quality is this: She can’t hear. And that unusual element is why and how Hush works so effectively at keeping tension taut nearly the entire film. Imagine being unable to gauge the noise you’re making when there’s a murderer on your tracks; unable to hear the patter of your feet—knowing very well that your assailant can—as you attempt to move astutely in and around your house. Hush uses deafness to turn a basic plotline into something more intimate; in lieu of suspense-building string-arrangements, moments of silence are used to depict Maddie’s reality as she struggles to stay alive.
The killer—armed with a crossbow, crowbar, and knife—is ruthless, and his slayings reflect it. As well, unlike slashers/archers in films like You’re Next, The Strangers, or Scream, the man after Maddie is indifferent to his anonymity and willingly reveals his face early into the film. The bulk of the film is a cat and mouse chase, both entertaining and unnerving. The final act, however, is particularly original: Maddie, bleeding out from a leg wound, confronts her writer brain to weigh various courses of action (endings) that she can take. Each scenario is visualized on screen, and all but one result in death. Depending on who you’re rooting for, the ending can be either satisfying or disappointing. Regardless, Hush is an original take on a well-worn genre trope and definitely not a film to keep quiet about.
Flanagan, Mike. Hush, Blumhouse Productions / Intrepid Pictures, 2016.
I’m going to a people’s prom this weekend, and the theme is the 1990s. While picking up a cute vintage dress and black Chuck Taylors for my grunge/Gwen Stefani look, I’ve been reflecting a lot back to the 90s. I couldn’t think of any horror movies from that decade, so I decided to look up a list of the top ones. I had to sort through a ton of useless links until I found this one: 20 Best Horror Movies of the 1990’s on Horror-Movies.ca. It does a good job of featuring the best horror movies that I remember from the 1990s. My favourite is Misery. I wonder which one is yours?
I do love me a Freddy Krueger kill!
I was hanging out with Satan’s Niece this past week, and she was telling me some intriguing true crime stories that she had learned from a podcast called Sword and Scale. I checked it out and listened to a podcast about the background and trial of a murder of a successful executive who was killed by her angry, recently separated husband. The podcast’s mix of narrative told by an expert with sound clips from individuals touched by the crime was well done. I’ll be making a point to listen to more!
I miss the tv show Oddities, especially Evan (centre in photo). She is the coolest person!
Follow the Facebook page of Obscura Antiques & Oddities, the store where Oddities takes place.