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A few nights ago, my roommates and I cracked open a box of wine and settled in for a movie night at home. We were in the mood for a “peekaboo,” our term for a movie that’s scary and suspenseful, but nothing so terrifying that we’d end up traumatized and in a psych ward post-viewing. We’d all seen Netflix advertising Hush during our personal streaming sessions, and figured home invasion plus deaf woman equalled perfect choice. 


Since then, one of my roommates has rewatched Hush eight times, asking friends “Have you seen Hush? No? Let’s watch it!” We’re all obsessed. 


Our story begins in an isolated cabin in the woods of Maine. It has a marvelous kitchen, where a single lady is making dinner. She’s chopping onions, stirring some white sauce, pouring some wine, sauteing some asparagus and IS THAT A RACK OF LAMB!? This woman is ambitious! Usually when I make dinner for myself, it’s an assortment of cheeses from Trader Joe’s and a poorly chopped apple, because balance. As everything is simmering and bubbling, the sounds lessen and completely cut out, letting us know our culinarily inclined lady friend is deaf.
She’s texting with her neighbor, Sarah, who wants to come over and say hi. As the ladies hang out on the porch, we experience a Master Class of exposition. Throughout their conversation we learn our heroine’s name is Maddie, she became deaf and mute after a teenage bought of meningitis, she is a writer, she has a cat named Bitch, and she can read lips (Maddie, not the cat). Everything happens so succinctly, yet naturally, that all of our questions are answered, one right after the other.  

Their conversation is cut short, as Sarah notices white smoke and flashing lights coming from inside the house. THE RACK OF LAMB! Maddie pops the battery out of her smoke detector (the universal disarming method), as Sarah remarks at how intense the alarm is, for it is as loud as it is bright. Maddie signs that the blinding lights and vibrations are designed to wake her if something were to happen in the middle of the night.

The ladies say goodbye, and Maddie receives a text from Craig, which reads, “Thought of you today.” DELETE! We can deduce such a big history from such a small action; obviously they are former romantic partners and things are a bit tense and awkward, in the way 99.9% of breakups of varying intensity can be.

Maddie sits down with her laptop and begins to work, but like every creative I know, has a bit of writer’s block and procrastinates. She decides to FaceTime Craig, quickly thinks better of the idea, and cleans the kitchen instead. As Maddie is cleaning up, Sarah slams herself into the glass door, ferociously banging the glass and yelling for help. It’s the first jump scare, or peekaboo, as my roomies and I call it, of the film. Sarah is frantically trying to get Maddie’s attention, and we’re all yelling at the TV, “Maddie! Turn around!” when an arrow shoots through Sarah’s back. A masked man comes into frame, spinning Sarah around and he stabs her multiple times in the gut. It’s gruesome and awful and Maddie has no idea what’s happening. While we can’t see his face due to the mask, we can tell that the assailant is intrigued by Maddie and why she’s not noticing the brutal murder taking place.

As Maddie sits back down to write, the masked man breaks in because she left the slider door open for her dumb cat!? Why wouldn’t you lock your doors religiously if you lived alone in the woods!? Also, why do you own a cat; why wouldn’t you have a ferocious guard dog!? (These are all things the girls and I yelled at the TV while pouring more wine.) Maddie is clacking away on the computer, and the masked man takes out his knife. Another FaceTime call pops up on Maddie’s computer, and our assailant quickly ducks out of the way so he’s not seen in the background.

The call is from Max, Maddie’s sister, and the girls FaceTime chat/sign about life and love, while the masked man quietly steals Maddie’s phone off the kitchen counter. Max thinks she see’s something move behind Maddie, and Maddie thinks it’s just the cat, BUT WE KNOW BETTER! The girls end their convo, and Maddie gets a message on her computer from… her own cell phone? It’s a picture message of her, sitting with her computer from a moment ago. Another message pops up, another picture of Maddie, this time a little closer. It’s the most modern rendition of “the call is coming from inside the house” and it’s TOTALLY TERRIFYING!

Maddie realizes someone is outside, watching her. She slowly turns around, gets up from her chair, and steadily creeps towards the slider door SHE LEFT OPEN for her dumb cat. As she rounds the door frame, we see the masked hunter standing calmly on her porch. Maddie rushes quickly to shut and lock the sliding door before the masked man can enter. Then quickly locks every other door on the first floor, just in the nick of time.

The hunter stalks Maddie from outside the house because this beautiful cabin has too many windows and no window treatments?! Maddie tries to call 911 from her computer, but the masked man has cut the power from the outside, and I realize I am not using any of my Apple products to their full capacity. She searches for another wifi connection to make the call, but it’s password protected.

Outside, our assailant checks the surrounding wifi networks from the stolen phone, and sees Maddie is shit out of luck. He then takes his knife and stabs all of Maddie’s car tires, effectively trapping her in the house with no way to make contact, or escape. Quickly, Maddie grabs lipstick from her purse and writes on her glass door, “Won’t tell. Didn’t see face. Boyfriend coming home soon.” and illuminates the message with a flashlight. A few moments later, PEEKABOO! The masked man pops up, reads the message, and like the dick he is, pulls off his mask.

It’s Jim from the Newsroom! With a neck tattoo and a buzz cut and it’s kind of funny to think of this as a follow up to his time at ACN. He’s probably a Trump supporter and decided to kill Sarah because she looked a bit like Maggie, but now this is turning into Fan Fiction so I will stop.  That being said (drink!), the masked man will, from here on out, be referred to as Jim.

Jim asks if Maddie can read lips, yet he’s barely moving his mouth. ENUNCIATE YOUR WORDS, JIM! He calls her bluff about the boyfriend by reciting bits of Maddie’s earlier conversation with Max. She’s all alone, incapable of calling for help or escaping, and thus, the game of cat and mouse (ah - HA! That’s why Maddie has a cat!) is in full swing.

As Jim wanders around the cabin looking for a way to break in, Maddie scrambles on the floor around the kitchen to get a knife, and retrieve a hammer from under the sink. First of all, interesting place to store a hammer. Second of all WHY DOES YOUR BEAUTIFUL REFURBISHED CABIN HAVE SO MANY GORGEOUS WINDOWS WITH NO WINDOW TREATMENTS!?! I get it, you wanna let all that natural light in, but Jim from the Newsroom is VERY deranged, and can see everything!

Maddie takes her weapons into the bedroom, because that’s apparently the only room with curtains, even though they’re basically sheer, and barricades the door with a dresser. She sits next to the window, panting, and waiting. The intensity of her situation settles in, and watching Maddie, you feel her adrenaline and panic.

After a brief moment of quiet, the shadow of a person appears bearing down from the window, and a hand begins to tap. There’s something about the shadow that doesn’t seem Jim-like, and Maddie slowly turns to see the Sara’s, dead, bloody face leaning against the window. Jim is using her like a puppet (told you!) to taunt Maddie. Maddie is so horrified that she drops the hammer (TACTICAL ERROR!) and runs out of the room.

My boyfriend actually yelled “tactical error!” when we watched this together, and it’s emblematic of what’s most fun about this movie. Aside from being a well executed, entertaining movie, half the fun in watching something like Hush is yelling at the TV about all the decisions being made. It’s even more fun watching in a group setting, where everyone’s pitching in as to how our hero should escape, or fight the attacker. Being scared, and reacting to peekaboos is always more fun in a group, and Hush is no exception.

Also, Maddie is a likable, formidable, heroine. She’s smart and you’re rooting for her to survive this situation, even when she makes mistakes. At one point she sets off her car’s panic button in order to distract Jim. She tries to escape on foot, but is almost shot by Jim’s arrow. There are a few other close calls that get your hands and feet flapping in panic that Maddie overcomes, but still ends up bruised, battered and injured.

At one point, after a brilliant defensive turned offensive move by Maddie, Jim calls her a cunt, and her expression is the PERFECT RESPONSE. It’s as if she channeled every woman in the history of the world that’s ever been called a cunt, and projected their collective reactions into her glare at Jim. Like, you’re trying to MURDER THE SHIT OUT OF ME and I’m being difficult about it, so I’M THE CUNT!? It’s a flawless moment of acting by Katie Siegle, and in combination with Maddie’s next move against Jim, culminates in my favorite moment of the film.

The climactic fight scene and struggle for survival between Maddie and Jim is scary, brutal, and a bit emotional. I won’t spoil the ending for you, because YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE and I’ll even come over with a box of wine and watch it with you. It’s tense, and for a moment you’re not sure who, if anyone, will come out of this ordeal alive.

As much as I love this film, it isn’t perfect or plot-hole-free. I can’t believe that Maddie wouldn’t notice Sarah being brutally murdered, either by feeling some secondary vibrations (I’m not a scientist) or by catching something out of the corner of her eye. Jim could have found a rock in the surrounding woods to smash one of the many glass windows and doors to enter Maddie’s house quickly.

All that being said (drink!) it’s a perfect peekaboo movie to include in your Halloween scary and suspenseful movie rotation, or general viewing pleasure. While this film gets a One Shot rating, I highly suggest having more booze while viewing. Not to increase the quality of the movie experience, but because it’s always more fun to yell at the TV with friends and copious amounts of alcohol.

PEEKABOO!
 


Comments

11/03/2016 2:34pm

Hush is quite scary, thriller and full of suspense. And the most interesting part of movie is that it felt quite horror even you watched it with group of friends.

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12/20/2016 11:45pm

I already watched this film and it gave me a goosebumps. My friend and I watched it together. We are very scared while watching it. We enjoyed every part and the story is really amazing. I really support this film and will look forward for more. I'm not afraid of ghosts, but it is really scary, so everyone who will read this comment, please watch it.

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11/29/2016 4:43am

Wow. Seems to be a good experience you guys have. Very well explained the overall event. Thanks for sharing.

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I’m not a fan of horror or any thriller movies. I get paranoid watching the films afterward. I think I couldn’t stand finishing this movie if ever my friends invited me to watch it. Surely, I’m going to scream the fright out of me. I know I’m a cry baby.

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02/04/2017 8:35am

You have done an excellent job, please keep it up! You deserve all the good reviews in your article!

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Nice blog! :)

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03/23/2017 12:51am

Movie night is really a great time, specially if you have your close friends with you. It is thrilling to watch horror and suspense movies. I love it when I saw my friends screaming like it is the end of the world. I always make fun of them since I am not easily affected by those type of movies. Well, movie night is the best with foods and drinks. Those are perfect combination in relaxing. Thanks for sharing this.

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