Hush (2016 film)
|Directed by||Mike Flanagan|
|Music by||The Newton Brothers|
|Edited by||Mike Flanagan|
Hush is a 2016 American slasher film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan, starring Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote the film with Flanagan. The film co-stars John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, and Emilia "Emma" Graves. It was jointly produced by Trevor Macy through Intrepid Pictures and Jason Blum through Blumhouse Productions.
Madison "Maddie" Young (Kate Siegel) is a deaf author. She temporarily lost her ability to hear and speak after a bout of bacterial meningitis at the age of 13 and lost both permanently after a corrective surgery gone wrong. She lives in an isolated house in the woods. Her friend and neighbor Sarah (Samantha Sloyan) visits her one day to return a copy of her book. That night, a masked killer (John Gallagher Jr.) chases her to Maddie's house. Sarah bangs on the door for help, but Maddie can't hear her, and the man stabs her to death.
After knocking on the door several times, the man quickly learns that Maddie is deaf and decides to make her the next victim. He sneaks into the house, steals her phone, takes photos of her and sends them to her laptop to make her aware of his presence. As Maddie realizes this, she locks herself inside the house. The man cuts the power and sabotages her car. Maddie writes on the glass-paneled front door "won't tell, didn't see face, boyfriend coming home" with her lipstick. However, the man responds by taking off his mask, saying that she has seen his face now. He then taunts her by propping Sarah's bloody body up against her bedroom window. Maddie tries to distract him with her car alarm so she can get Sarah's phone from her body. She fails to get it before he returns but successfully stabs his arm with a hammer's claw. He mocks Maddie revealing he has the phone as well as removing one of Sarah's earrings from her body.
She then makes several failed attempts to escape through the window and ends up climbing onto the roof. The man fires a crossbow bolt and hits her leg, but she manages to knock him off the roof and grab his crossbow. She staggers back into the house and removes the bolt from her leg before trying to reload the crossbow. Sarah's boyfriend John (Michael Trucco) arrives, looking for Sarah. The man meets John, pretending to be a police officer responding to a call, and delivers a false story of how he was rendered unconscious by an intruder. He asks for John's phone, faking a call for police backup. While handing John's phone back to him, Sarah's earring falls out the man's pocket. John points out the flaws in the man's testimony, stating that Maddie is deaf and mute, and therefore wouldn't be able to make a call. John, becoming suspicious with the man, lures him off the porch with a rock in hand, planning to attack him from behind. But at that moment, Maddie bangs on the door to get his attention. With John distracted, the man stabs him in the neck.
As John bleeds out, he uses his remaining strength to put the man in a chokehold, mouthing the word "run" to Maddie. Maddie imagines a vivid hypothetical situation of her doing so. Running on her injured leg is futile, and the man is able to quickly catch her, bludgeoning her to death with a stone. In a shift back to reality, she also realizes she cannot risk hiding inside the house, as she is dangerously close to bleeding out. Maddie decides her only hope for survival is to kill the man. John dies, and the man threatens Maddie's cat with a knife. Maddie prevents this by shooting him with the crossbow from the porch, hitting him in the shoulder. While running back inside, she drops the remaining bolt for the crossbow. While attempting to grab it, the man slams the sliding door shut on her wrist, crushing and stomping on her hand with his boot. Maddie pulls her mangled hand back inside, closing and locking the door. As Maddie lies on the ground writhing in pain, he threatens to enter the house. She taunts him by writing "do it, coward" on the door with her own blood. While the man begins bashing the glass door in with a tire iron, Maddie quickly types a description of the man and a message to her family on her laptop before running to the bathroom with a knife, waiting for the man to enter.
Having difficulty breaking through the glass door, the man smashes the skylight and enters through it unbeknownst to Maddie, who has her back turned to him watching the bathroom door. The man edges closer to her, preparing to stab her from behind, but Maddie feels his breath on the back of her neck. She turns, narrowly avoiding his attack, and stabs him in the knee. She stumbles into the kitchen, her vision beginning to blur. When approached in the kitchen, Maddie sprays the man in the eyes with insecticide and then triggers her specialized smoke alarm to disorient him. The man is able to overcome her, throwing her to the ground and strangling her. Her heartbeat starts to slow and her life flashes before her eyes. On the verge of death, she grabs a corkscrew on the floor just within arms reach and plunges it into his throat, finally killing him.
Maddie takes her cellphone from the man's pocket and dials 911 before stumbling outside and sitting on the porch. Maddie's cat sits next to her, rubbing against her leg. Bathed in the blue and white lights of an approaching police cruiser's sirens, Maddie closes her eyes, pets her cat, and smiles.
- Kate Siegel as Maddie Young
- John Gallagher Jr. as The Man
- Michael Trucco as John Stanley
- Samantha Sloyan as Sarah Greene
- Emilia Graves as Max
Nothing was known about the project until September 2015, when it was revealed at a buyers' screening which occurred at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was revealed Mike Flanagan had directed and written the film, along with his wife Kate Siegel who also stars in it.
On making the main character a deaf mute, Flanagan had said it originated from him wanting to do a movie "without dialogue". The possibility of making the film entirely silent was briefly considered, but was soon abandoned when it was realized that building tension with this limitation would be "impossible"  Flanagan also noted that the target audience would not have been used to silent films and, as such, would "seek out every kind of audio stimulus anywhere else in the environment" or simply choose to not watch the film at all.
The script itself consisted largely of scene directions, which Flanagan and Siegel developed by acting out in their own house. The fact that so much of the script was based around Flanagan and Siegel's own house proved problematic for filming, as when they went to shoot the film in Alabama, they could not find a house similar enough to theirs and had to significantly alter the film's script. Flanagan also found challenges in the single location and had to plan the cinematography to keep the film interesting to the audience, especially given the mute nature of the protagonist; to this end, Flanagan used a Steadicam to follow Siegel's every move, along with a boom mic and a spotter, to make the movement more "dynamic". The resulting audio for these scenes could not be used and had to be redone in post, with Flanagan noting that the audio initially "sounded like a herd of elephants."
To represent Maddie's world, various ambient sounds were used, such as the sound of ultrasound machines. Flanagan did not want to use pure silence for these scenes, as he still felt it would make viewers even more aware of their surrounding and take them out of the experience. As a result of the aforementioned camera set in, Siegel had to ADR her own breath into the final film. The film's soundtrack was composed by The Newton Brothers.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016. Prior to the premiere, Netflix acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film, which it released on April 8.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes Hush has an approval rating of 94% based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100 based on reviews from 7 critics indicating "Generally favorable reviews".
Benjamin Lee of The Guardian said that Hush "offers ingenious suspense" and awarded it four out of five stars. Geoff Burkshire of Variety, though criticizing the film's third act, called it "one of the more inspired concoctions to emerge from the busy Blumhouse horror-thriller assembly line in recent years." Michael Gingold of Fangoria gave the film 3.5/4 stars, calling it "a good old-fashioned truly scary movie". Jasef Wisener of TVOvermind gave the film a 4.7/5, noting that "Thanks to the performances from its two leads, Hush succeeds in almost every aspect and delivers one of the best horror films in modern history."  Richard Newby of the website Audiences Everywhere called the film "a modern slasher movie classic that's not to be missed."
Stephen King wrote about the film on April 20, 2016, saying, "How good is Hush? Up there with Halloween and, even more, Wait Until Dark. White knuckle time. On Netflix." Filmmaker William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, also commented on the film, saying "HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying." 
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- Mike Flanagan [@flanaganfilm] (26 October 2016). "@BlakeZ43 Alas Hush was 1 mil; Absentia was 70k. Got mixed up in a few articles. But glad you dig it!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Gingold, Michael. "Q&A: "HUSH" Director Mike Flanagan on the Scary Sounds of Silence". Fangoria. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "The Newton Brothers scoring Mike Flanagan's "Hush"". FilmMusicReporter.com. October 18, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- McNary, Dave (March 11, 2016). "SXSW Unveils Lineup With James Caan, Ethan Hawke, Keegan-Michael Key Movies". Variety.
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- Lee, Benjamin (April 14, 2016). "Hush review – nifty home invasion thriller offers ingenious suspense". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
- Burkshire, Geoff (March 13, 2016). "SXSW Film Review: 'Hush'". Variety. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Gingold, Michael (March 13, 2016). ""HUSH" (2016; SXSW Movie Review)". Fangoria. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Wisener, Jasef (April 9, 2016). "'Hush' (2016) Film Review". TVOvermind. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- Newby, Richard (April 12, 2016). "Hush is Brutal and Nuanced". audienceseverywhere.net. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- "Stephen King Gets Loud About HUSH". Dread Central. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- @WilliamFriedkin (5 December 2016). ""HUSH is a great horror film...on Netflix. Terrifying."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.