Hush (2009)

Hush takes a set of very familiar, All-American horror movie values and transplants them smack bang into the middle-of-nowhere, England. It starts out with an argumentative couple; Beth and the ridiculously monikered Zakes; on the verge of relationship breakdown and driving along a section of British motorway, periodically stopping at service stations so Zakes can fulfill the obligations of his job as the man who replaces posters in the ad spaces of said service stations. On their travels, they notice that the van directly in front of them appears to contain what looks like a partially clothed woman in potential peril. Writing off the incident as ‘seeing things’ and ‘making something of nothing’, they continue their journey. It’s not until Beth decides to take drastic action and end the relationship that things start to go awry. She goes missing from the service station and Zakes is faced with the tough decision of leaving the woman who has just spurned him or trying to get to the bottom of her unceremonious disappearance. Choosing the latter he is plunged headlong into a series of nail biting set pieces and a tense game of cat and mouse.

A lot of British horror films wave the patriotic flag so furiously that it sometimes detracts from the events. Hush however, ignores the setting and concentrates entirely on the story. If you ignore their broad Northern accents, the characters could literally be picked up and plonked down anywhere and the story would work just as well as it does here. In the grand tradition of 70’s era exploitation horror movies, there is no explanation here; we never find out the motives of, or even really see, the hooded madman, he just serves as a device to terrify. The filmmakers aren’t concerned with the ‘why’, the ‘who’ and the ‘how’, they just want their audience to be on the edge of their seats and in that respect, they succeed.

As is often the case with films of this nature, the characters make a number of dim-witted decisions and sometimes the imminent action is blindingly obvious from a mile away but this is to be expected and it would be unfair to lambaste the guys behind the movie too much for simply following the unwritten rules that were laid out by the imprudent horror-maestros that preceded them.

There is nothing particularly clever about this movie, there are few surprises, it breaks no new ground and has no startling, too-clever-for-it’s-own-good twist at the end but for some reason, it works. It proves that as long as you have a solid script, some competent actors, good direction and the means to make a half decent budget stretch to its limits then it’s possible to make a worthy addition to the genre.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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