Fright Fest 2016 Review #1: Hush (2016)

Can you hear me now?

Subgenre:  Home Invasion

Summary:  A writer living in the woods must fend off a killer lurking outside.

Review:  Maggie, a deaf-mute writer, can’t seem to finish her second book.  Coming off the heels of a bad relationship, she’s found peace at her new home in the woods, with her friendly neighbors and cat providing company.  But this solitude comes at a price, as her isolated state makes her the ideal target for a crazed serial killer.

Hush doles out its backstory quickly and effectively in its opening scenes, painting an empathetic picture of Maggie and her situation.  Soon thereafter, the killer shows up, making his presence known in a brutally effective manner.  But instead of barging into the house, knife in hand, he decides to toy with his prey, setting off a game of cat and mouse that makes up the rest of the movie.

Hush’s greatest strength is its realism.  Far from being another masked mute, the killer is terrifyingly human, thanks John Gallagher Jr.’s menacingly low-key performance.  He’s not invulnerable, undead, or possessed – he’s just a crazy guy with a knife and a crossbow.  The movie’s creepiest moments are completely nonviolent, like the killer’s prolonged stares and sick taunts to Maggie with nothing but glass separating the two.

As expected, Hush’s third act consists of a bloody showdown between Maggie and the killer.  It’s effective-if-predictable, and bolstered by Maggie’s brains-over-brawn approach to combat.

The Verdict:  It doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but Hush is a solid entry in the home invasion subgenre.  I give it seven-and-a-half defiant deaf dames out of ten.

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