There are lots of ways movies can be bad. Lousy writing is perhaps first and foremost–a movie that fails at the first stage is likely going to be a failure right on through to the editing room. Hush, a film written (horribly) and directed (competently) by Mark Tonderai, is a perfect example of that theory. Here we have a film so poorly conceived that it never really stood a chance, despite the fact Tonderai proves to be much more adept sitting in the director’s chair than he does wielding a pen and paper.
William Ash plays Zakes Abbot, a man who has a job replacing advertising posters. One night, as he is traveling from location to location with his girlfriend, Beth (played by Christine Bottomley), a truck overtakes him on the freeway. For a split second, its back door opens to reveal a young woman, half-naked and screaming, in the back. Zakes wakes up Beth, and tells her what she saw. Of course, she urges him to call the police, which he does. Twice. Then, they see a police officer ahead of them on the road. Beth begs Zakes to flag him down, but Zakes inexplicably decides to try and forget all about it. And we all know the consequences of that in a horror movie.
By the end of the night, Zakes will find his girlfriend (who broke up with him earlier in the night, and recently cheated on him before that) kidnapped, be framed for murder, be the target of a double-cross, and will finally find himself face-to-face with the evil truck driver himself. Will he be able to save his (ex-) girlfriend before it’s too late, thus proving that he does love her, or will she suffer a fate worse than death at the hands of the evil driver?
I have one question: Who cares? There are movies similar to this one released just about every month, and Hush offers very little to distinguish it from the others, aside from maybe thick British accents. The twists and turns come every few minutes, but are so ridiculous and unbelievable, that all they result in are groans of disbelief. Cars that were previously out of gas, start up again, cell phones run out of batteries, only to continue working; it all leads to a cliffhanger finale that is frightening only because it insinuates there might be a Hush 2.
On the positive front, the acting is pretty good, at least from the two main leads. The film does have a visual style all its own, too, with the corners of the shot often blurred out, bringing focus to the action in the middle, and a color scheme that seems to bask in exaggerated colors. These might have actually impressed me a little more had they been surrounded by a film that was worth half-a-damn. I must also give it some credit for at least refusing to become yet another torture movie, though it easily could have been if it wanted to.
Unfortunately, what it’s not is a lot better than what it is. The screenplay feels rushed, resorting to a series of tired coincidences to build tension (Oh look, there happens to be an open door in a dead-end that the hero can hide in! The candy that the camera lingeringly focused on as Zakes placed it in his back pocket earlier on in the movie actually becomes a useful tool later on!) rather than building upon solid, believable plot points. And if you’ve ever watched a horror movie trailer, you’ve already seen the bad guy’s get-up, which consists of a hoodie (that’s always placed over his head), and jeans.
All Hush comes across as, is a British attempt to make a typical Hollywood picture. Does it succeed? Well it’s vapid, clichéd, unbelievable, ridiculous, ignorant, and a waste of time, so I guess the answer is “yes”. So maybe its only problem is that it didn’t set itself to higher aspirations. But whatever the case may be, Hush is an absolutely terrible cat-and-mouse “thriller” that is light on thrills, and heavy on groan-inducing coincidences. If you like your horror predictable, then you will probably get a kick out of this. The rest of you, however, would be better off avoiding this and watching something, anything else. Can I recommend the newest Twilight film?
Rating: 1/2* (out of 4)