You might think that a movie released in March of this year but hitting Netflix Instant Play by the end of April has suspected entertainment value, but you would be wrong. Hush is a tense drama that kept me at the edge of my seat. It is a simple movie with a simple plot, almost a cliché plot–woman at peril–but in this simplicity, director Mike Flanagan gave us a suspense thriller reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.
Flanagan wrote the screenplay with future wife Kate Siegel, who plays the protagonist, Maddie Young. (They married in February.) For this reason, Hush feels more like a labor of love than a Hollywood movie. They filmed it in Alabama in 18 days. With only five actors and one location, Hush shows us what is possible when filmmakers scale it down.
To heighten the sense of danger, Hush takes place over a span of a few hours. This is happening now! The threat is now! And there is no rescue! So you must save yourself!
Maddie Young is a young woman, deaf and mute, who lives by herself in the country. She’s a novelist who prefers the solitude of the country, as she recovers from a failed relationship. Despite the remote house, she feels connected with her family and friends with our technological wonders–smart phones, computers, text messages, and Facetime. But when a serial killer arrives on her porch steps, she learns how vulnerable she is. What plays out is a cat-and-mouse game as she struggles to save herself from a killer who intents both psychological and physical violence.
I love the visual storytelling in this movie. Though Hush is 81 minutes long, there is only 15 minutes of dialogue. Not dialogue but photography tells this story. I think about the opening scene, where Maddie prepares her dinner. I knew before watching this movie that the protagonist was deaf, but even if I didn’t know, I would’ve known by the end of that sequence. Flanagan must’ve asked himself: How am I going to represent deafness on film? He chose his shots carefully to achieve that. And this care in visual storytelling existed throughout the movie. My one criticism: At times the lighting was too low for me to see what was happening. But those shots make up only a few minutes of the film.
Netflix Now is a new series I’ll post every Wednesday, where I’ll review movies currently available on Netflix Instant Play. Wednesday is Hump Day, the middle of the week. It is the perfect evening to open a beer, pop popcorn, and watch a movie before bedtime. Hush is a good choice for that movie.
Verdict: Worth your time.