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John’s Horror Corner: Hush (2016), a credible home invasion movie with a believably tough victim.

May 17, 2016


MY CALL: Perhaps not original (generally speaking), but an excellent film! Sure, it’s something I’ve seen many times before. But it was done very well by a filmmaker and cast we can respect. Credibly tough victims are hard to find in the slasher subgenre. So you should give this one a chance. MOVIES LIKE Hush: You’re Next (2013), The Strangers (2008), Vacancy (2007) and The Purge (2013).

Living in quiet seclusion, one random evening deaf novelist Maddie (Kate Siegel; Oculus) finds herself stalked by a masked man (John Gallagher Jr.; 10 Cloverfield Lane, Jonah Hex). We don’t know how or why he chose her, or how he stumbled across her home that night. We only know that he wants the worst for–he wants her to want to die.


Directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia, Before I Wake, Ouija 2) and co-written by star Kate Siegel (Oculus, Ouija 2), this seemingly simple plot is delivered with striking execution. In the short time we have with Maddie before her peaceful life would be so traumatized, we quickly grow fond of her. She doesn’t seem like someone living with a handicap, but rather fundamentally a regular person with a regular life who happens to lack the ability to hear.

Moreover, Maddie is far from the helpless final girl fumbling and whimpering about. She is a capable survivor and, as such, our stalker finds that he is in for a challenge.


It took me a while to realize that Kate Siegel was carrying no audible dialogue at all for half the movie. Her performance was shockingly effective despite its taciturn nature and it just goes to show how powerful a good actor’s performance can be in the hands of a smart director…even without a single spoken word. Much to the contrary, our stalker played by John Gallagher carried most of the dialogue after the introductory scenes. He, too, is quite capable and unnerving opposite Siegel’s survivor. It takes two to tango but make no mistake, this is Siegel’s movie!


This film was told through a very practical and realistic lens. Maddie considers the possible outcomes of escape attempts and concludes they just won’t work. Her adversary is bigger and faster than she is, he will eventually get inside, and there is no help nearby. So what does that leave for her?

While more about the cat-and-mouse game at the start, this film has some shocking moments of abrupt brutality–among them was a devastating bone break. And among the many strengths of this film, nothing terribly unrealistic seems to transpire. Which means little opportunity for even the critical movie-goer to roll their eyes.



I very much enjoyed this film. Sure, it’s something I’ve seen (generally speaking) many times before. But it was done very well by a filmmaker and cast we can respect. Credibly tough victims are hard to find in the slasher subgenre. So you should give this one a chance.





12 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2016 12:19 am

    On-target review! Not the most original of movies, but a sympathetic lead and taut storytelling make it somewhat better and more credible than the average slasher film. I found the actress a little lacking in emotion at times personally, but for the most part she was believable. ??? I am a bit confused that you used the virtually the same phrase to end your review as you did to begin it, was that an accident? Might want to check it out, it makes reading the review a little jarring and awkward.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 18, 2016 8:38 am

      I thought her somewhat stolid nature was a product of her sensory isolation that toughened her emotionally–as she said, she didn’t choose seclusion, it chose her. I’m not saying that solves everything and Maddie was executed perfectly…simply that I didn’t perceive anything that seemed out of character. Certainly a fair criticism. I wonder if I’ll notice it now upon re-watching this.

      P.S. We’ll be podcasting about Hush (and Honeymoon). So if you want to hear some geeky banter about it, check in on us next week. 🙂

  2. May 18, 2016 10:25 am

    It is a lot better then a lot of home invasion movies and the two lead actors are good. I didn’t fully love this one because I thought her character made a few bad choices at the end.

  3. June 23, 2016 6:39 pm

    I thought that for a home invasion movie it was quite original. I especially liked that the anonymous killer removed his mask early on in the film; it allowed us to see him as a person without making him any less evil. And I thought Maddie was a great “final girl.” She was damn smart.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 23, 2016 7:12 pm

      Yes. And I enjoyed her inner monologue when she was rationalizing her options in the bathroom! Excellent. Practical. Largely credible.


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