Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Johnathon Schaech
Director: Jonathan Darby
Running Time: 96 mins
Hush is an American film about a newlywed husband and wife who move to the man’s family ranch, where the mother of the house immediately tries to get rid of her new daughter-in-law.
As far as thrillers go, not only is Hush far from exciting, but it’s really stupid too. Filled with pointless and predictable twists that the movie seems to really proud of, it’s a thriller completely void of tension, and struggles to ever really excite you at any point.
But before we get into what makes Hush such a disappointing watch, let’s briefly touch on the few positives here. Above all, the musical score isn’t just good, it’s actually great, with an eerie take on the lullaby “Hush, Little Baby” that brings almost all of the film’s atmosphere and suspense.
Also, Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance, while not exceptional, is likeable, and she plays her character competently and with strong assurance throughout. Also, Jessica Lange is entertaining to watch as the villainous mother-in-law, though with a slightly over-the-top performance that’s perhaps less unnerving and more funny than she perhaps intended.
The rest of Hush, though, is pretty terrible. The story is pretty simple to get your head round – new woman walks into mother’s life and she tries to get rid of her for various reasons. Those reasons are neither interesting nor particularly original, and though the film tries hard to interest you with the back story of why Lange’s character is the way she is, there’s nothing really worth noting there.
What’s more is that Hush is a thriller that tries desperately to establish some tension, ambiguity and unpredictability in its characters’ motivations, but fails miserably. I’ll commend its intention to try something beyond a pure horror-esque thriller, but the way that the movie tries to put you in doubt about who the villain really is just falters so quickly.
The screenplay has a few opportunities to strike a surprise in the final act, perhaps subverting everything that’s come before, but again, it just follows a painfully predictable path that it’s been pointing to all along. Basically, the film says who the villain is at the beginning, then tries (and fails) to wrong-foot you in the middle, only to say in the end that the villain is who you already know it was.
As a result, I never found myself particularly captivated by Hush. It’s neither the rollicking, fast-paced fun fest of family friction that was Ready Or Not, nor is it the cagey, ambiguous and mind-bending drama that was Rebecca. In short, it’s a film that admittedly tries hard, but fails in pretty much every respect, and that’s why I’m giving it a 5.9 overall.