Short Film Review: Hush (2015).
Hush is a short dystopian film with a singular concept that falls silent when it comes to execution.
It’s hard to know what to say about Hush. My initial excitement about a short film sharing such a similar plot to this weekend’s big release, A Quiet Place, gave way to despair as several aspects of this film’s setting reminded me of Rubber – one of the worst movie’s I’ve had to review for this site. After having finished all nineteen minutes of the film, my only thought was: is that it?
Let’s Talk about Hush: The Title.
As an interesting aside, this is our second review of a movie called Hush in as many days. I guess it makes sense that films about silence would use the title Hush…but I was left speechless by how many films actually share that name. I could do a review of one a day for the rest of April (and don’t think I’m not sorely tempted to!) There are 16 feature length films, dating back to 1928, that are called Hush (not counting the many many variations like Hush Little Baby) and there are an astounding 47 short films with that title.
While most are horror movies, they run the gamut and even include a historical drama about a transgender cabaret that Hitler commandeered for the Nazis. I can’t fathom why at least that film didn’t come up with something more provocative than Hush for a name. In short, there has got to be something else salient about your film to name it if you’re looking to get noticed. Don’t call it Hush!
After hearing the last live broadcast of humanity, in which we learn that a new form of life has taken man’s spot atop the food chain and that using language is a death sentence, we follow one young man as he wanders the wastes looking for supplies.
OK, so interesting premise. Dystopian movies are in vogue these days, and until recently having to remain completely silent during one was a novel pitch. What does Hush do with that promising start?
Not a whole hell of a lot.
Watching our hero go through the wasteland is like seeing what happens to the extras in a Mad Max movie on days when Lord Hummungous isn’t around. He just wanders around collecting stuff that you’d assume was helpful in any type of crisis. In fact, he’s a pretty charmed bloke since he finds a gun and a car right away and then manages to rustle up a first aid kit in a looted store. Nothing about his day suggest a particularly interesting type of apocalypse has occurred.
Let’s Think This Through.
I can understand that Hush doesn’t have the budget to actually make the monsters appear. The closest thing we get to a monster is a poorly trained german shepherd, and I have to say that I actually thought this film was suggesting that dogs are the new dominant species. The radio guy did say that the threat was four-legged.
Even if you can’t show the monster…at least act like they exist. Besides not speaking, there’s no other acknowledgement that these things are real. Our hero can jump-start a truck, drive all over hell’s half acre, fire his gun, even scream in pain and nothing happens to him. Is there a trigger word that gets these monsters going? What the hell are the rules here? Something that literally only attacks sources of human speech begs to be given a fuller treatment. That’s just a super specific adaptation, and while it would work like gangbusters in the early going, it’s going to get obsolete fast.
There is a lack of polish to Hush that marks it as the product of folks new to the game. It’s not so much bad, as not good. Things like how the main character has to deliberately show everything he picks up to the camera, how the fight choreography is amusingly telegraphed, and the use of workman-like camera shots all proclaim that this is not the work of hardened professionals. I don’t actually fault the film for it as sometimes its refreshing to see unpolished cinema, but I do include it so that others who can’t abide by any amateurism will be forewarned.
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…
Hush has a decent premise that allows for possibility, but it has neither the time nor the skill to really do much with it. While we’re told that some threat is putting humanity into Darwin’s dust bin in short order, we don’t get to see any of it and are left with a rather generic post-apocalyptic vignette in its place. With no dialogue and amateurish acting, there’s nothing much to say about a film that doesn’t say much itself.