Stuff I Watch in October: Hush (2016)

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Ring (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Identity (2003)
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
Halloween (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Halloween II (2009)
Predators (2010)
Absentia (2011)
Prometheus (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Escape From Tomorrow (2013)
Oculus (2013)
Before I Wake (2016)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Hush (2016)


DIRECTOR: Mike Flanagan. Are you getting tired of this guy yet?

WHAT IS IT?: Hush is writer/director Mike Flanagan’s fourth horror offering which ditches the supernatural tropes of his last few efforts and concentrates on a more grounded premise, a’la Hitchcock.

THE PLOT: Kate Siegel plays Madison Young, a horror writer living in seclusion, who is in good spirits despite having a slight case of writer’s block. Despite the occasional visit from her neighbor, she doesn’t have many visitors…except for the one who shows up late at night, having already murdered her friend.

And it’s a real tragedy that Madison is deaf and can’t hear him…

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Hush was Mike Flanagan’s first big critical hit. Critics love the movie, remarking that it was a nice departure from his earlier films, ditching the supernatural element for a more contemporary Hitchcockian feel. Author Stephen King compared the film to the original Halloween and Wait Until Dark, while filmmaker William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist) called the film “terrifying”.


WHAT DID I THINK?: WIth Hush, Flanagan does a great job giving you the world from Maddy’s perspective where everything is quiet except for muffled vibrations or loud noises and the only thing audible are the breaths she takes and her own heartbeats.

The introduction of the killer is purely terrifying simply because Maddy’s oblivious to anything beyond her dirty kitchen. As she cleans up a mess she made, the killer is standing five feet from her, outside her glass doors, while repeatedly stabbing her neighbor who is screaming for help.

The realization that Maddy can’t hear a thing is just as chilling as when he breaks into her home and uses her neighbor’s phone to send pictures of Maddy as she’s on her laptop. Even when the last picture of her is sent moments before Maddy realizes the killer is inside her house, the killer exits, knowing that he can simply toy with his next victim for his own perverse pleasure — if only he’d realize that he’s stalking a woman who writes this kind of stuff, he’d know what he’s in for.

Kate Siegel is a Mike Flanagan regular (and his wife) and this would mark her second appearance in one of Flanagan’s films since Oculus, where she was barely a supporting character. Here, she takes center stage. As Maddy, she’s intelligent, quick-witted, and a fighter. She’s at a natural disadvantage so she has to think quick in order to match her opponent.

This seems like a simple premise, one that might inevitably be compelled to compare it with Hitchcock’s Rear Window or Terence Young’s Wait Until Dark which I believe to be a little too easy. Yeah. it’s a home invasion suspense/horror film — but I could easily say that it has more in common with Spielberg’s Jaws or Duel (the moment where Maddy is on her own roof, trying to get to higher ground recalls Chief Brody attempting to escape the shark by climbing the moorings of the “Orca”) since this film is about a soulless monster who circles its prey and keeps on coming as Maddy does everything in her power to keep her wits about her to defeat it.

Hush is a hell of a film.


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