2016, R, 82 min. Directed by Mike Flanagan. Starring Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, Emma Graves.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 25, 2016

In between its world premiere at SXSW 2016 and its debut on Netflix in early April, the canny home-invasion thriller Hush is receiving a modest theatrical rollout. That’s no doubt a testament to the effectiveness of this latest release from the horror purveyors at Blumhouse Productions and Intrepid Pictures.

With concise direction from Mike Flanagan, Hush is a one-location terror rampage. Flanagan (who also directed Oculus a few years ago) wrote the film with its star victim Kate Siegel, to whom he is also married. Siegel plays Maddie Young, a deaf writer who lives alone in an isolated cabin (classic catnip for evildoers). Yet, even though Maddie is horrifically terrorized, her character is not a passive victim. Maddie fights back, often ingeniously, against the unnamed, white-masked maniac with a crossbow (John Gallagher Jr., straying far afield from his supernice-guy role on The Newsroom). Like many a homicidal maniac in horror movies, this guy is a sadist who seems to prefer toying with his targets more than the actual kill; he’d prefer to pluck the wings off insects, one by one, instead of squashing them outright.

Hush makes clever use of Maddie’s deafness as part of the plot development, although comparisons with the classic sensory-impairment thriller Wait Until Dark end there. Our modern electronic devices – from smartphones to smoke detectors – are intelligently incorporated into the story. Siegel’s strong screen presence, despite the absence of auditory dialogue, also helps carry the movie. You can almost see the wheels turning inside Maddie’s brain as she tries time after time to outwit her tormentor. Hush has a solid first half before the cat-and-mouse shenanigans begin to seem repetitive and prolonged. Still, at 82 minutes Hush is a concise and well-executed horror nightmare.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Hush
The Sound of Silence
The Sound of Silence
Home invasion thriller Hush hits Netflix

Richard Whittaker, April 8, 2016

More Mike Flanagan Films
Doctor Sleep
Back to the cinematic hallowed ground of the Overlook Hotel

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 8, 2019

Ouija: Origin of Evil
This horror sequel is vastly superior to its cheesy precursor

Marc Savlov, Oct. 21, 2016

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
SXSW Film Review: The Greatest Hits
SXSW Film Review: The Greatest Hits
Love means never having to flip to the B side

March 16, 2024

SXSW Film Review: The Uninvited
SXSW Film Review: The Uninvited
A Hollywood garden party unearths certain truths

March 12, 2024


Hush, Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, Emma Graves

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle