4.5 out of 10


Release Date: 13th March 2009

Director: Mark Tonderai (House At The End Of The Street)

Cast: William Ash, Christine Bottomley, Claire Keelan, Stuart McQuarrie, Shaun Dingwall, Sheila Reid, Peter Wyatt with Robbie Gee and Andreas Wisniewski

Writer: Mark Tonderai

Trailer: HUSH




One thought on “HUSH

  1. HUSH by Joe Pesci II aka Matt ‘HUSH’er

    This was a bitter disappointment. It’s not that it’s a terrible film, it’s worse than that: it’s average. And the fact that it was average is the bitter disappointment, because this could have been rather good. On the one hand it’s very well paced, moodily lit and well filmed and nicely acted (for the most part) and the plot is quite interesting and it has everything you might want for a reasonably entertaining B-movie. Alas the plot has plenty of holes, every cliché in the book is exploited beyond reason, and in the end it’s just all a bit too derivative and dumb and anonymous.

    This is advertised (on the cover of the DVD) as a horror but it’s really a thriller (sub genre: chase and rescue). For reasons which I will never understand, the villain of the piece (who is really just a lorry driver – possibly from Poland judging from the actor’s surname, so an immigrant coming over here, stealing our jobs and our women (literally)) is presented as being one of those slow moving Jason types, never taking his hood down so we are left meant to wonder whether he’s even human or not. But my he’s a stickler for cleanliness, spending a great deal of time washing his hands after visiting a service station toilet, and having a ridiculously long shower once he’s returned to the homestead. And why is there a giant container suspended in mid air from a crane in the middle of the night? And who severed the phone line when a villain is making a fake phone call? And since when did minor villains get killed by being pushed over? And just how long can one hang from a coat hook? And how come our hero can come in from a particularly rainy night and yet be so dry? And why is it called HUSH? (After all, any thriller / horror requires its protagonists to shut up at some point if they want to live.) And how unlucky is everyone when the bad guy just happens to kidnap someone who had been following him? But hang on, what’s the film about?

    It all starts promisingly. William Ash and Christine Bottomley are driving along the M1 (never a good thing to do) and tensions are bubbling. Said tensions subside somewhat when a lorry door winds up and a trapped woman is revealed. The film then veers away from being about miserable northerners breaking up and turns into what should have been a tense game of cat and mouse. Our heroes follow the van of despicable intentions, but get nowhere (what with it being the M1) and end up in a motorway service station where they break up. But that’s only the start of the trouble! Our hero chases after the evil van driver who seems to be unaware of his pursuer’s presence for rather too long. Eventually our hero, as is the way of these things, finds himself suspected of murder, and even Shaun Dingwall as a cockney copper up north can’t help.

    As the evil Polish immigrant sex-slave-smuggling van driver dimly becomes aware that he’s being chased, the bodies begin to pile up. And they all point in our hero’s direction, which is unintentionally funny. After a while the film-makers run out of M1 and we have a red herring in a farmhouse (and a dog which, according to the deleted scenes doesn’t die), and then a showdown in an unusually technologically advanced scrapyard not far from Bradford, where it transpires that our villain, as well as being a foreign rapist, is also (a) just some bloke and not a supernatural ghostly zombie, and (b) part of a conspiracy of kidnap which stretches across our entire motorway network. (And, as the quite awful coda demonstrates, it is a conspiracy which is going to go away, oh no, this is a conspiracy with someone who can read a book.)

    I liked William Ash as our vaguely hopeless but hopeful hero. In spite of his character’s discovery of unexpected resourcefulness, he manages nevertheless to retain the character’s hopeless but hopeful demeanour. It is to the film’s credit that his job is putting up posters in service stations, rather than being, say, an ex-soldier (OK he’s also a failed writer but who isn’t?). And he even calls the police! Like a normal person! Christine Bottomley is equally good as the equally flawed (ex-)girlfriend. But here’s the problem: the film sets up these two characters really well, and their conflict is genuinely interesting (even if the actual set-up is a bit unlikely). So when the real plot of the film kicks in, all the build-up is jettisoned. It’s designed, I suppose, to make us interested in the characters and their fates (these are definitely not the usual bland expendable American teens), but the problem is that the whole thriller element just gets in the way. The rest of the cast are unable to make much of an impression as none of them lasts for more than about three minutes (I remember when Shaun Dingwall could take leading roles in ten hour BBC 2 epics; and Sheila Reid, she worked with Ingmar Bergman; I blame Simon Cowell).

    Weirdly the film HUSH seems to be aping above all others (and there are a lot of others which it seems to have homaged and borrowed from and there’s nothing wrong with that) is BARTON FINK, in that both films are about the unexpected alleviation of writer’s block. BARTON FINK is better. All told, HUSH is an entertaining enough B movie with pretensions and lots of nicely moody photography. It is not the great white hope of British horrors or thrillers (easy to say four years after release I suppose but I cannot see what Mark Kermode was getting excited about); had it been American it would have been just another teens in terror Friday night time-waster, and it’s perfectly acceptable on those terms; but it’s nothing to write home about.

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