How good is HUSH? Up there with HALLOWEEN and–even more–WAIT UNTIL DARK. White knuckle time. On Netflix.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) 21. april 2016
Kate Sigel who played the main role on the horror movie Hush which Samantha stars in, recently did an interview with ACED Magazine and said that her favorite scene to film was the one with Samantha.
What were your favorite scenes?
Kate: The scene with Samantha Sloyan, a warm, giving, open actress who played my neighbor. The dialog scene with her was such a joy. It’s a turn from the rest of the film, and it creates a sense of who Maddie really is and how she interacts with people around her.
It dosen’t seems like Samantha’s role is very big, but after seeing the trailer, I can’t wait to see the whole movie!!
A taut thriller that marries sound design with thematic impact.
Hush is already drawing numerous comparisons to 1967’s Wait Until Dark, and rightfully so. Both films are home-invasion thrillers where a female protagonist uses her handicap to fight back against her attacker. In this case, the blindness of Audrey Hepburn’s Susy gets traded out for the inability to hear or speak. Likewise, the story swaps Wait Until Dark‘s New York City apartment with a remote cabin in the woods of Alabama.
But once you get past the similar elevator pitches, Hush stands apart from its predecessor and most horror movies in general, Blumhouse or otherwise, as the hero and the villain face each other down very early on in the runtime. When the secluded home of Maddie (Kate Siegel) — a writer who’s struggling to finish her second novel — is targeted by a nameless killer (John Gallagher Jr., in a double victory lap this weekend with 10 Cloverfield Lane), she becomes aware of his presence almost immediately. Part of this is by design, both on the part of the antagonist and of director Mike Flanagan (Oculus), who co-wrote the script with Siegel. As soon as the nameless attacker learns of Maddie’s disability, he toys with her by stealing her phone and sending pictures to her laptop. Then, after moving back outside, he appears right in front of her at the window, his mask peering in as he challenges her to play his game.
Although his visage is a clear homage to Michael Myers — sculptor Bruce Larsen outfitted the mask with white skin, blank features, and a gentle smile — the similarities between the two killers end there. Where Myers stays silent and largely hidden from his victims until it’s too late, Hush‘s madman makes himself visible and vocal to his prey from the get-go. As a result, Flanagan and Siegel both get to lay their cards on the table early, freeing up their characters to focus solely on how to outsmart one another.
That lends a clinical brutality to the violence, as well as the tightly ratcheted game of wits that follows. The audience isn’t left wondering if the killer’s out there (we know he is) or when he’s going to try and strike (right now, if he can) — only what his motivations are. Yet at the same time, Gallagher plays him with such practical, almost charismatic viciousness, that we don’t need to learn everything (or even anything) about him. As an actor, he knows why the anonymous man has chosen to do what he does, and that’s all that matters. This enhances the singularity of his mission, thus making it even more relentless and chilling.
Of course, much of the tension should be credited to Siegel, too. As Maddie, she uses little more than sparse ASL and facial expressions to convey everything from humor to vulnerability and frustration at her own writer’s block, which ends up inhibiting her when she takes a stand against her would-be murderer. In one of the film’s most brilliant sequences, she reaches deep within her consciousness to replenish her sapped determination, creating a fantasy where she’s able to speak once again. This also gives her disability some distinct details not seen in most films featuring deaf characters. Because Maddie was afflicted with sense-crippling bronchial meningitis when she was 13, she’s caught between two worlds — unable to physically hear or talk, but able to remember those things well enough that she can conjure speech in her dreams, visions, and memories.
With the exception of a sister on Facetime and a pair of visits from neighbors, Siegel and Gallagher are the only actors in the film. But to paraphrase a joke from They Came Together, the sound functions as its own character, just as crucial as any of the flesh-and-blood performers. Michael Koff, supervising sound designer Steven Iba, and re-recording mixer Jonathan Wales all work in tandem to treat each noise with decadence. The “thock” of Maddie chopping vegetables is deliciously amplified, as are the bloops of text messages and the chimes of phone calls. By turning up these notifications — these Apple effects that we’ve all heard during our own relaxed nights at home — the sound team establishes a familiar sense of place, only to shatter it once the killer appears. It’s no coincidence that the stabbing of flesh and the crunching of bone are delivered at the same volume as the various creature comforts, the noise level now ear-shattering instead of soothing.
The sound design also reminds us of what Maddie doesn’t have at her disposal, and how this can both a strength and a weakness. Sure, Flanagan could have easily filtered the entire film through her lack of hearing so that we could experience it firsthand. But the heightened audio is more complex in its final result. In the first few minutes of the film, we love it, indulging in the food being prepared and the messages being read. When the violence hits, however, we want to retreat into our own cocoons of silence. We want to drown out the horror. And that’s when we realize how the lack of sound can actually be used to Maddie’s advantage. Even though that’s a theme lifted right from Wait Until Dark, the significant amount of time that Hush spends with the enemy makes the revelation that much more important.
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Release Date: April 08, 2016
MPAA Rating: R
Duration: 87 minute(s)
Director: Mike Flanagan
Producer: Trevor Macy, Jason Blum
Screenwriter: Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel
Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco as John, Samantha Sloyan & Emma Graves
In this heart-pounding thriller from acclaimed writer and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Before I Wake), silence takes on a terrifying new dimension for a young woman living along in the woods. Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives a life of utter isolation after losing her hearing as a teenager. She’s retreated form society, living in seclusion and existing in a completely silent world. But one night, the fragile world is shattered when the masked face of a psychotic killer appears in her window. Without another living soul for miles, and with no way to call for help, it appears that Maddie is at the killer’s mercy… but he may have underestimated his prey. As this horrifying game of cat and mouse escalates to a breathless fever-pitch, Maddie must push herself beyond her mental and physical limits in order to survive the night.
Netflix Buys Mike Flanagan’s Horror-Thriller ‘Hush’ Ahead of SXSW Premiere.
Netflix has acquired worldwide streaming rights to Mike Flanagan’s “Hush,” starring John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegel, Michael Trucco and Samantha Sloyan.
“Hush” will have its world premiere at South by Southwest on Saturday. It will be available globally on Netflix beginning April 8.
Siegel wrote the script with Flanagan. Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy and Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum produced the film, with Michael J. Fourticq Sr., Jeanette Brill, Kate Lumpkin and Couper Samuelson exec producing.
Siegel stars as an author who lost her hearing as a teenager, living a life of isolation in which she’s fully retreated into her now-silent world. When the masked face of a psychotic killer appears in the window of her secluded home, she must push herself beyond her mental and physical limits in order to survive the night.
“ ‘Hush’ is a great example of what happens when you give an incredible filmmaker like Mike Flanagan creative freedom to tell a fun and original scary story,” said Blum. “We had a great time continuing our relationship with Mike and Intrepid and are psyched to share Mike’s movie with genre lovers all over the world on Netflix.”
Flanagan wrote and directed “Oculus” for Macy’s Intrepid, which Blumhouse acquired at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, and co-wrote and is directing Blumhouse’s “Ouija 2.”