Sunday, June 5, 2016

HUSH (2016) [Joe's Review]

In Hush, a young, deaf novelist is terrorized in her cabin in the woods by a senseless killer. Will she live to tell the tale? Or suffer from a fatal case of writer's block? Tune in to find out if the pen is mightier than the crossbow!

Hush is actually a little dull. Don't get me wrong, a little dull is a huge improvement over your average Netflix horror release. Hush has good productions values, strong performances, and a plot that dutifully traverses a beginning, middle, and end.

But one of the things I look for in movies where an every-man or woman has to overcome a menace is some kind of virtuous quality or strategy that fueled their victory. Do they box? Were they raised in a militia, like the woman in You're Next? Are they super resourceful, like Kevin in Home Alone?

If Home Alone were Hush, Kevin would spend the whole movie screaming into his mirror before lucking into a killshot on the wet bandits in the last 5 minutes. In fact, that famous Home Alone scene actually exists in Hush, but she's disinfecting a crossbow wound to the butt instead of applying aftershave.

Also, if Kevin had seen a killer using his best friend's corpse as a puppet minutes before his famous aftershave scene, I think he probably would have slapped his face and shouted "AAAAAH!" at that point. Then, when he went to apply the aftershave, because why the eff not, I don't think he would have noticed that pain. I think once you've screamed about your dead friend being used as a puppet, rubbing alcohol in virtually all its forms loses the power to hurt you. By the way, you probably saw the picture at the top of this review and thought "Oh no, who is doing that to her?" Rubbing alcohol. That is a woman in the grips of senseless disinfection.

In Hush, there are no diminishing returns on taking at least five minutes to cry and breakdown. She cries and freaks out when her friend is dead. She cries and freaks out when she gets shot in the butt. She GETS her neighbor killed, and THEN she considers every possible outcome of the movie before deciding on the only one where she lives.

This is the crowning absurdity in a movie that is pretty ridiculous. In the scene there are two of her, which makes the fact that she's just sitting there seem less useless and more surreal. But as the viewer, you know she's just sitting there. And the product of this episode? She figures out that she should shoot the bad guy with the crossbow. And so she does, but the bolt to the chest doesn't phase him (throw some rubbing alcohol on there though and WATCH OUT).

This ties into the second most infuriating thing about Hush. When she gets shot in the butt by a crossbow bolt, it's this harrowing experience that leads to the 15 minutes of crying and disinfection in the bathroom (by the way, pouring rubbing alcohol over a crossbow puncture wouldn't disinfect it - it's a puncture! You're going to need antibiotics, so you might as well just splash some aftershave in your face and scream about it, because the wound would STILL be infected).

When HE gets shot by a crossbow bolt, he just pulls it out and smiles about it and the wound is pretty much forgotten. On the flip side, the bad guy stabs the neighbor in the neck and severs his carotid. But the neighbor still manages to stagger around, pass out, get up, spear tackle the bad guy, go for a rear naked choke, and THEN die. However, when the bad guy gets stabbed in the neck, he dies IMMEDIATELY. So there are two cases of virtually the same wounds happening with drastically different effects, all in service to the plot.

Questions for Paul

1. Why was her other self talking vocally to herself, and why did she sign in response?

PH:  Well, it seems like one way to get around the whole can't-film-thoughts problem that all films have.  This movie basically takes the voice-over route, but this hits a snag since she has literally no voice.  So the whole thing has to be set up by an even earlier conversation she has with her neighbor in which the neighbor basically asks the same question--like "say, Maddy, if you were going to have a voice-over, hypothetically, whose voice would you hear?"  My mother's, Maddy replies.  This leads us to the conclusion that, in this final internal dialogue, Maddy is speaking to herself in her mother's voice.  Ah!  It's all worked out so simply!

2. Did it seem like the neighbor went straight from "You may not actually be a cop" to "I'm going to hit you with a rock?" What do you think his conversation with himself was like?

PH: He probably imagined all the possible outcomes and realized the only way to ensure his survival until the end of the movie was to kill everyone as soon as possible.
3. How do you sell that house?

PH:  LUXURY COMFORT IN THE PRISTINE WILDERNESS.  3 bedroom/2 bath, 2,300 sq. ft. totally renovated murder house.  Sip tea while enjoying gorgeous views of towering pines, woodland creatures, and the occasional psychopath!  Brand-new hardwood deck provides outdoor lounge space and a convenient hidey-hole from your motiveless attackers.  Extreme privacy, so play your music or scream for mercy as loud as you like, no one can hear you!

4. Did the bad guy have a plan?

PH:  This is a difficult question since we're not really sure what he's thinking, except when he talks to himself (another way around that problem mentioned in my first answer).  But mostly what he says is stuff like, "whoa, that was a close one" and "harder than it looks, isn't it?" and other totally mundane things.  Oh, he does have a plan for the cat, which he tells himself/us that he is going to nail to the wall of the house.  Is this part of a larger decorating plan?  And why nail it rather than, like, leave it on the doorstep, feline-like?  So I'm going to go with no, no plan.

5. What were his conversations like with himself while he was walking around outside so much?

PH:  "What should I do?"  "Patrol the yard."  "Why?"  "So she can't get out."  "Ok, so when are we going in to kill her?"  "Later."  "How much later?"  "I don't know.  About as long as a movie later."  "You like movies?"  "Sure."  "Seen any good ones lately?"  "Unfortunately, no."


  1. This review is officially better than the movie. "That is a woman in the grips of senseless disinfection." lol

  2. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

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