A review of “Hush” (2016)

I feel like I should have enjoyed “Hush” (2016) more than I did.  It isn’t a bad movie — it’s well made, and it stars Kate Siegel, who this year’s exceptional “The Haunting of Hill House” has led me to really like as an actress.  (Siegel also co-wrote the film with director Mike Flanagan, who is her husband and who was also the writer and director of “Hill House.”)  Siegel is again quite good, and their collaboration here results in a competent, serious horror-drama with no glaring flaws.

Yet my mind wandered.  Even if there was nothing seriously wrong with “Hush,” it didn’t much distinguish itself.  Just about everything you watch here is a standard stalker-vs.-lone-woman scary movie, with little in the way of twists or unexpected plot developments.

Yes, the difference here is that the protagonist is deaf and mute, and is therefore less able to defend herself — but Siegel and Flanagan don’t capitalize on that much in conceiving this story.  By the end of the film, I didn’t get the sense that the character’s disability even affected the course of the story very much.  Events would have unfolded more or less the same way if she hadn’t had this disability.  (Or am I missing something?)  I also get the sense that the protagonist being an author was supposed to affect her choices and strategies in trying to survive, but that didn’t come across consistently or well.  (And it results in “tricking” the viewer at one juncture in a way I didn’t like.)

I can’t actually recommend “Hush” to others because it didn’t thrill me.  But I can’t objectively say that it’s a bad movie.  So I figure I’ll rate it here a 7 out of 10.

A few random observations:

  • Siegel is a talented performer.  I predict she’s going to go on to great things.  Don’t let my lukewarm response to this film dissuade you from catching her elsewhere — especially in “The Haunting of Hill House.”
  • The story’s antagonist is fairly generic; he appears to be simply be a random serial killer in the script, and we get hardly a hint about his motivations.  But John Gallagher Jr. breathes plenty of life into him with a disturbingly authentic, naturalistic performance.  He’s also a very good actor.
  • I saw a plot twist coming that didn’t actually occur, and I wonder if what I saw was a vestige of an earlier version of this movie’s script.  (And it isn’t a spoiler if it didn’t happen.)  During a stalk-and-talk scene in which the bad guy taunts his victim, he inexplicably addresses Siegel’s character as “Squish.”  That sounds like a pet name that parent would give to a very young child.  The twist I predicted was this — Gallagher’s character was not a serial killer who selected his victims at random, but a long lost, homicidal brother who was then parodying the parent by invoking the pet name.  He was motivated by pathological jealousy after growing up with his disabled sister, who he felt monopolized his parents’ attention and sympathies.
  • We learn from dialogue that the protagonist became deaf and mute after contracting meningitis when she was a child.  I knew that meningitis could make a person deaf (or blind).  But … also mute?  Why am I skeptical about that?  Wouldn’t that only happen if someone became deaf when he or she was a baby — so that the disease could delay key early childhood language-acquisition processes?  I have no idea why I am so hung up on this minor bit of exposition.  Maybe watching so many zombie or plague movies has made me a stickler for the way diseases are portrayed in a horror story.

 

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“This Windy Morning” featured by The Piker Press

I’m very pleased to share here that my poem “This Windy Morning” was published today by The Piker Press.  You can find it right here.

The Piker Press is an outstanding online journal of arts, sciences, fiction and non-fiction, and I remain grateful to Editor Sand Pilarski for allowing me to share my voice with its readers.

(And don’t you just love that artwork they selected?!)

 

 

What is the Night King’s favorite movie thriller? “Wight Bird in a Blizzard.”

[THIS POST CONTAINS *MAJOR* SPOILERS FOR “GAME OF THRONES.”]

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That terrifying moment when you realize that the Night King has air superiority, and can probably convert it to naval superiority …

What if he flies over the ocean and “converts” the entire Golden Company as they’re enroute to Westeros from Essos? That way the army of the dead can attack from the south with a navy, in addition to attacking from the north. Things were easier when he couldn’t just fly anywhere and augment his forces wherever he wanted, right?

If the Night King DOESN’T follow this (apparently most logical) strategy, and attack from two fronts, would it be a plot hole?

I at first wondered if maybe the Night King needed to be near his wights in order to animate them. But … the captured wight in Season 7 was alllll the way down in King’s Landing when our heroes showed it to Cersei, while the Night King and the white walkers hadn’t even gotten to the Wall yet.  And that wight up and got jiggy with it just fine.

Bear in mind that Dany’s dragons appear capable of flying virtually anywhere in a very short period of time; fans even decried the “plot hole” when the dragons flew so inexplicably quickly from Dragonstone to north of The Wall to rescue Jon Snow’s wight-hunting party. I suppose we could lampshade this by saying that their speed is indeterminate because they’re magical creatures.

And the undead dragon at the end of Season 7 looked like it was moving even faster than a live dragon, right? This was consistent with what we’ve already seen on the show. The wights, animated by magic, often move a lot faster than living humans.

Yeah, you’re right — it’s a laundry day, which is why I’m procrastinating again by sitting here blogging about “Game of Thrones.”

 

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“When I said Mexico would pay for the wall … obviously I never meant Mexico would write a check.”

“The past was alterable. The past never had been altered.

“Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.  A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs — all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere. ”

— from George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

 

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A petition to save Netflix’ “Daredevil?”

I CAN’T SEE why I wouldn’t sign something like that.

That was terrible.  If this were the Marvel Cinematic Universe, people would actually ask Thanos to ash me.

Anyway, the petition over at Change.org has 48,840 signatures as of this writing, and it’s climbing quickly toward its target goal of 50,000.  It’s even been endorsed by Vincent D’Onofrio, who portrays “Kingpin” on the program.

I swear that it takes all of three seconds to sign.  And what could it hurt?  It worked for Fox’ “Firefly,” right?  (Although it didn’t work for NBC’s “Hannibal.”)

You can find it right here.

 

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Eric Robert Nolan’s “school shooter” published at Winedrunk Sidewalk

Hey, gang.  I’m honored to share here that my poem “school shooter” was featured this morning over at Winedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland.  I am quite grateful to Editor John Grochalski for allowing me to share my voice there.

Winedrunk Sidewalk is an online venue featuring poetry, fiction, art and photography inspired by the Age of Trump — 365 days a year.  It’s a great place to share your impressions with other Americans, and it’s also easy to submit your own work.

You can find my poem right here.