I was on Netflix during one of my nightly procrastinating sessions, and I happened to stumble across Hush. Now, I love a good horror: be it zombie flick, gore, or psychological thriller. I'm always down for the macabre and some snacks.
Hush was initially one of those films I wasn't too sure about: if a fairly new film is on Netflix straight away, it tends to be worth giving a miss. But I threw caution to the wind and gave it a go anyway. And I'm glad I did. If you haven't seen this film, you should. Check out the trailer below:
The film was directed by Mike Flanagan, creator of mind bending mirror horror movie Occulus. So from the word 'go' you can pretty much expect some clever writing. And Hush is definitely one of the more unique horror films I have watched.
The plot follows deaf writer Maddie, played by Kate Siegel, defending her isolated home in the woods from an intruder. Although the plot line of home invasion is nothing new, and seems a little cliche and overdone, the film is unique for using an entirely deaf protagonist. At first, Maddie's disability is obviously flagged by the film as a disadvantage. She cannot hear her assailant walking around her house, and is unaware of his presence for a good few minutes of the film. The threat is only revealed when she sees Creepy Mask Man for the first time:
But Maddie ultimately finds ways to use her disability to fight back. And that was one of the cool things about Hush. The horror genre rarely explores disability, and when it does, it's usually a disability caused during the length of the film, such as the loss of a limb, or sight.
Parallels can be drawn here between Hush and American Horror Story. American Horror Story is not a series that is afraid of exploring the limits and boundaries of the human body.
One of the most memorable examples of this is in the show's third season, Coven, when Sarah Paulson's character Cordelia Foxx loses her eyesight. The loss of sight ultimately becomes an advantage to her character, enabling her powers to grow.
Of course the clear stand out difference here is that American Horror Story deals with elements of the supernatural, and Cordelia is of course a witch. But in this way, Cordelia's disability becomes what enables her to fight back and become stronger.
The great thing about the Hush was that the movie itself did not need to rely on the supernatural to explore elements of strength. Rather, it is character that perseveres. It is resourceful and rational minded Maddie who figures out a way to use what she has around her to escape the masked man, despite whatever may be holding her back.
And over time, Maddie comes up with more creative ideas on how to fight the man, such as tracking his footsteps via vibrations, temporarily blinding him with some kind of chemical, and towards the end of the film, using her extremely loud flashing fire alarm to cause him discomfort. And it's satisfying to watch the man, who clearly thinks he has the upper hand, get his comeuppance.
So all in all, Hush is a surprising film that that wonderful mix of tense and enjoyable to watch. The concept of a protagonist with a disability is interesting, and one I think the horror genre has more room to accept and try out.