by Adam Riske
As a big admirer of 2013’s Oculus, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a follow-up from writer-director Mike Flanagan. To my good fortune, he’s due to release three features in 2016: Before I Wake, Ouija 2 (ugh!) and Hush. As evidenced by Hush, Flanagan seems to have the goods -- especially when it comes to developing suspense and atmosphere. Even better fortune, you can watch Hush right now on Netflix (where it premiered this week). So simply put -- no excuses. Go stream this indie horror flick. It’s a bummer it won’t play in theaters (same with Adam Wingard’s upcoming Death Note) but these days I’m all about convenience so I guess its ok. It’s just the way the wheel is turning in film distribution. The consolation is that Netflix will give the film a wide audience right from the outset.
You’re Next, but Flanagan seems to know that so he brings neat little twists to the film and is helped by having a brief 87 minute runtime. It’s a lean machine, with no B-plots, and though it’s slight it is also never less than diverting.
I do have some gripes about Hush. I wasn’t a big fan of the attacker in the film. The actor portraying him (who I’ve seen in other movies and liked) simply does not have the physical presence or intimidation factor the role requires. I guess it helps in making the hero-villain showdown seem more evenly matched, but I do wish he was more imposing. He also seems to be very aware he is evil so he does a lot of indication acting like scowling and such. It feels more like a high-schooler’s approximation of playing this role than a professional actor. Also, I might have missed it but I couldn’t figure out if the bad guy had a motive. It bugged me during my viewing of Hush. I also think the movie trades off between being inventive with the setting and also running out of ideas with it so certain sequences work while others feel tired. Lastly, I didn’t like a sequence about 2/3 of the way into the movie which felt like a cheat (you’ll know the one I’m talking about when you see the movie).
Heat [by Elliot Goldenthal] actually, particularly the end credits music). The movie isn’t about much so digging into its themes is proving challenging but not all movies are meant to do more than entertain, so with that in mind, I think Hush succeeds on its intentions. Still, I can’t wait for Before I Wake. Keep up the good work Flanagans!