Hush ★★★

Hush is one of those films that film schools like to show to their students as an example of how to make an independent film. It consists of a single location, minimal characters, and a brief screenplay that emphasizes imagery, mood, and tone rather than dialogue.

HushMaddie Young (Kate Siegel) is a deaf author who lives by herself. Her nearest neighbors are a couple, Sarah (Samantha Sloyan) and John (Michael Trucco). At the start of the film, Sarah recently finished reading Maddie’s debut novel. However, Maddie is uncertain how to conclude her next novel- seven possible endings are shown as files on her laptop.

A masked man (John Gallagher, Jr.) appears at Maddie’s house later that evening. At first he does not know that Maddie is deaf, although when he discovers this he uses this advantage to taunt her before attempting to kill her. Corresponding with the minimalist aesthetic of Hush, the masked man is not revealed to have a psychological motive or a disturbing past.

Hush provides for an unsettling view, in part because Maddie appears so helpless and in part due to the film’s succinct editing. There are minimal jump scares and the home invasion and violence in Hush is shot in a consistent, believable manner. The only contrived aspect of Hush is the eerie music that is at the forefront of many scenes. Since much of the film is silent, perhaps longer periods of silence would make for a proficient means to induce additional tension.

Originally a music critic, Alex began his work with film criticism after watching the films of Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman for the first time. From these films, Alex realized that there was much more artistry and depth to filmmaking than he had previously thought. His favorite contemporary directors include Michael Haneke, Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, and Terrence Malick.

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