Film / Hush

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Look behind you!

Hush is a 2016 psychological horror film directed by Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Oculus), and stars co-writer Kate Siegel (Flanagan's wife).

A deaf novelist living in a secluded woodland home finds herself terrorized by a masked killer.


This film contains examples of:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Downplayed. During the climax, Maddie uses her "writing voice" to consider multiple scenarios which all end in her death, before figuring out what she has to do.
  • Apocalyptic Log: As the killer is making his way into the house for the final showdown, Maddie quickly types up a final message in the book she's working on.
    male 5'9 green eyes brown hair short
    tattoo on side of neck
    love you mom dad max
    died fighting
  • Bait the Dog: The film does this to Maddie and the audience, showing us an early close-up of Sarah tucking her phone into her back pocket. Maddie remembers this later in the movie and tries to retrieve the phone from Sarah's body. Unfortunately, the killer reveals that he already had it after he nearly catches her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Maddie survives, as does her cat, but her friends are dead, she's suffered numerous horrible injuries including an arrow to the thigh and a mangled hand, and undoubtedly is going to be psychologically scarred for a long time.
    • Plus some Fridge Horror when you realize the killer probably crushed her hand beyond the point of healing. That'll make typing and signing much harder, seriously impeding her ability to communicate whatsoever.
  • Brick Joke: Maddie calls her cat a bitch a few times early in the film because it apparently escapes frequently, and even teaches Sarah the sign for the word. Later on, when the killer checks the cat's tag to see if it's Maddie's, it turns out her name actually is "Bitch".
  • Bring It: After the killer horrifically smashes her hand and tells her that he's coming in, Maddie stops crying and slowly rises to face him, standing behind the screen door. She then dips her finger into her arrow wound and uses the blood to write on the words "DO IT COWARD" on the glass.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Subverted. The killer confiscates all of the phones and cuts power to the house so Maddie can't even call 911 over Facetime.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Multiple. The smoke detector that goes off at the beginning of the movie being used later to disorient the killer is the most expected, but the can of bug spray and the corkscrew are harder to catch.
  • Determinator: Maddie almost loses her life at several points in the film, first from massive blood loss and then from strangulation. She manages to be the only onscreen character to survive.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: John gets his throat slashed by the killer. As the killer investigates, John leaps forward and puts him in a chokehold, yelling for Maddie to run. She can't run because of the possibility of her death, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Evil Gloating: The killer loves taking his time and watching people suffer slowly. It screws him over multiple times.
  • Fingore: Maddie's hand gets totally mangled when the killer traps it in a sliding door and gives it several stomps.
  • For the Evulz: The unnamed killer has no apparent motivation except to harm and kill for fun. This is likely true for many actual serial killers though.
  • Handicapped Badass: Maddie, by the end of the movie.
  • The Hermit: Maddie, who has apparently been living alone for about a year now.
  • Heroic Second Wind: As the killer tries to strangle Maddie to death, her life flashes before her eyes. This is what gives her the final bit of strength to grab the corkscrew and put her tormentor down for good.
  • Hope Spot: John shows up at Maddie's house looking for Sarah and is confronted by the killer. He quickly sees through the killer's wounded policeman act, tricks him into turning his back, and grabs a large rock. Just when it looks like he's about to save the day, Maddie frantically bangs on the glass to warn him, not knowing he's already figured it out. Before John can turn his attention back to the killer, he's stabbed in the throat.
  • Humiliation Conga: The killer thought an isolated deaf and mute woman would be the perfect victim. He was wrong. Despite his much greater advantage, he spends most of the film getting his ass kicked by her. She eventually defeats and kills him.
  • Improvised Weapon: Maddie finishes off the killer by shish-kebabing his throat with a corkscrew.
    • She also uses a hammer, a kitchen knife, a can of pesticide, and even a smoke alarm.
  • Kick the Dog: The killer loves doing this. He frequently gets Maddie's hopes up only to dash them again and again, and fully intended to nail Maddie's cat to her door. Thankfully, he never gets the chance to do so.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Maddie experiences this when the killer strangles her until she was close to dying, causing her life to flash in front of her eyes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Maddie frantically pounds on the door in an attempt to let John know not to trust the killer. She doesn't know he's already figured it out, and the distraction allows the man to stab John in the throat, killing him.
  • No Name Given: The killer is never named, and he's credited simply as "Man".
  • Not Quite Dead: John, briefly.
  • Reality Ensues: Maddie manages to steal the killer's crossbow, but has an unbelievably difficult time trying to load it, given her inexperience with such a weapon.
  • Red Herring: The beginning of the film makes it seem as if Maddie's needy ex-boyfriend Craig will enter the picture at some point later in the film. He never shows up. Sarah's boyfriend John does, though.
    • Also Sarah's cellphone.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Sarah.
  • Serial Killer: This is clearly not the killer's first time. When Maddie manages to take away his crossbow, she notices thirteen notches carved into the side.
  • Silence Is Golden: The movie is about 90 minutes long, and has less than 15 minutes of dialogue. Partly because it has a deaf and mute protagonist.
  • Silent Antagonist: At least until he takes off his mask.
  • Slashed Throat: How John meets his end. Also a slight subversion in that the killer clearly expects John to just lie down and die as soon as his windpipe is cut, but he puts up a good long fight before he expires.
    • It's also how the killer dies at Maddie's hands.
  • Smug Snake: The killer is very full of himself. Though not so much that he won't acknowledge his own lack of strength or fighting skills after John nearly chokes him to death. Even his mask has a wide smirk for a mouth.
  • The Sociopath: The killer, obviously.
  • Stupid Evil: The killer could easily have murdered Maddie while her back was turned, but instead he tipped her to his presence as part of a "game" to toy with her. This gets him killed in the end.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The killer, surprisingly. He treats the situation like a game and has little to no sense of caution. His willingness to write off Maddie or John as mere victims he could play with nearly gets him killed more than once. His random decision to steal one of Sarah's earrings as a trophy is what gives him away to John later. Near the end, he actually stops to smoke a cigarette and have a conversation with Maddie's cat. If he wasn't so concerned with describing to the cat how he intended to nail it to the door, he might have avoided that arrow to the chest. His Suicidal Overconfidence hinders him every step of the way.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Oh boy, does Maddie have a bad night. She is psychologically tormented by a killer who knows she is deaf and mute and exploits it as cruelly as possible. She is faced with the vicious killings of her neighbors Sarah and John, and the knowledge that their deaths are partially her fault. She is also horribly wounded throughout the night, getting an arrow shot into her thigh, her hand smashed and stomped, badly kicked and beaten, nearly strangled, and losing a lot of blood. This is all on top of her tragic backstory in which she lost her ability to speak and hear as a teenage girl.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The movie might have ended a lot sooner and a lot less bloody if Maddie hadn't tried to warn John of danger just as he was about to get the jump on the killer.
  • White Mask of Doom: It's right there in the poster.
    • Despite the killer's face not being shown in any promotional material, he actually removes the mask very early in the film and never puts it back on.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The killer pulls this on John when he arrives, pretending to be a police officer who was knocked out while investigating an emergency call. Given the killer's very apparent sketchiness, John doesn't buy it for long.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Hush