Back in 1967 there was a film called “Wait Until Dark” starring the great Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman who was terrorized by criminals led by Alan Arkin who are looking for hidden drugs in her apartment. I recall my mother watching this one, not too worried that it would scare me since it was a far cry from something like “The Exorcist”. But the tone and the style really stuck with me as Hepburn attempted to escape the clutches of these evil men. Almost fifty years later this formula of evil men tormenting a handicapped woman is still meant to terrorize and entertain.
“Hush” opens on a shot of an isolated cabin in the woods (what has ever gone wrong there?) with Maddie (Kate Siegel) a deaf woman who is working on her follow-up novel. After a visit from her neighbor for some heavy-handed exposition, a masked killer arrives on Maddie’s doorstep. Once the killer (John Gallagher Jr.) realizes Maddie’s handicap he decides to toy with her and basically circles the house keeping her in as he slowly moves in for the kill.
This film is yet another horror/thriller from Blumhouse Productions, which seems to be churning out these films like scary-movie Skittles. While they have unleashed garbage like “Ouija” and “The Boy Next Door”, they have delivered some pretty great horror, like most of the Paranormal Activity films, “Sinister”, “Insidious”, the under-seen “Creep” and M. Night Shyamalan’s almost return to form in 2015’s “The Visit”.
This one sticks to the numbers and you can see just about everything coming, they play a little with Maddie’s deafness, though I would have preferred a little more. I did enjoy seeing Gallagher playing a psycho killer, which is against type since he’s usually cast as the understanding boyfriend. “Hush” is the perfect Saturday night Netflix horror movie night with friends. It’s not too deep or gory, and has its share of jump scares, but in the end is pretty standard. And even though Siegel will not be nominated for an Academy award like Miss Hepburn was for “Wait Until Dark”, she’s worth watching trying to survive the night and in her screenwriting debut in a movie that fits right in the middle of the Blumhouse film catalogue, not great, not terrible, but just right.
–Robert L. Castillo