Back during my trip to London a couple of months back, I got to see the first reel of a thriller named Hush. Aside from the mere concept of reels tickeling my cineastic side, this was a very interesting experience for an aspiring horror screenwriter Mark Tonderai also did a Q&A session afterwards. From a movie-watchers perspective, I was also intrigued. Despite some rather glaring similarities with Duel, the plot seemed interesting, the combination of the tension between the main characters and the threat of the anonymous, unspecificially foreign truck driver subscribing to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre school of recreation, made for an interesting hook to draw you into the film.
Due to the bothersome fact that I had to go home before the film premiered, I didn't get to see the whole thing at that point. Also, due to the local cinemas being less than satisfying what with low profile/unusual horror/thrillers, on that note I'm still waiting (in vain) for Lars Von Triers Antichrist to hit the silver screen here, I didn't get to see it until it hit the DVD market.
Now, I must say, that is a pretty sweet poster there. It's exciting and kind of draws you in, wondering how on earth this happened and how it will end, also, it creates a fine sense of isolation, with the only iluminated area being under attack by the towering trailer. One problem, at least in this version, is the text.
This is a rather common problem on advertising and, in some cases, DVD covers, and it annoys me to no end. This happens a lot when there's large parts of black on the cover, for example my copy of Oldboy, which throws in some review highlights and a quote about how much Tarantino loves it. The problem is that marketing people seem to think large amounts of black, or white, is a clean slate for them to smear whatever praise they can gather all over it, which ruins what could be some rather epic designs. It must be said that there's a poster-version without the text, and I'm considering to buy that, but the layout on this cropped version is better in my opinion.
But enough about the poster, on to the actual movie, which I recieved by mail courtesy of my friends over at play.com, just the other day, and the watching commenced. Luckily, I was not dissapointed. Don't get me wrong, Hush is not great, eyeball-melting art on the same level as some of my other favorites, but it delivers a pretty good twisted tale, and it's definitely worth a watch.
As mentioned, the movie focuses on our protagonist, the uninspired writer, Zakes and his girlfriend Beth as they travel North England at night, going from petrol station to petrol station to put up posters, and secondarily, argue over a crumbling relationship. However, this comes to an end when Zakes sees a naked woman caged up in a passing truck. What follows is a short argument about if they should do anything past phone the police which gets cut short when the truck driver figures that Beth would make a nice addition to his collection and kidnaps her. Zakes must then save his girlfriend/not really girlfriend any more from a fate most certainly worse than death.
As far as tension goes, this film does it pretty damn good, the ever-present threat of the anonymous truck driver coupled with the trouble with the law that Zakes manages to accumulate through a series of unfortunate circumstances, leaves a supressive atmosphere, although I feel they didn't make the most out of the threat of the truck driver. It could be that it's because the matchup of Pedestrian VS Truck tends to be short and gory, but the truck driver seems to cause the most peril in large parts of the movie through independant agents of his will, which makes him seem like something entirely different from what you'd expect. Of course, during the films climax, he's back and swinging, but it's my opinion they did not make the most of the whole truck thing.
Also, of other nuisances is a scene and a couple of characters that feels like entirely pointless padding, untill the end, when you realize it was also the set-up to a rather annoying sequel hook. To add to the annoyance, it also serves to prove one of the horror genres most persistent trueisms. I kind of understand the padding, considering the film would run kind of short (not that there's anything wrong with that) without expanding it a little, and it also adds a little to the desperate feeling that the only one who actually wants to help our hero out gets rewarded with an eye scream end.
Despite these two problems, I think Hush was a worthwhile effort, even more so because it was the directors first flick. It's exciting and got a nice visual style, also surprisingly good gore, at least for my expectations. Sure, Duel it ain't, Duel was a lot more conservative about it's characters, and that makes it a bit tenser, but you have to give Hush credit for its rather unexpected finale. I won't spoil anything, but this was a Chekov's Gun that I did not see comming, and I still haven't decided if it was crazy awesome or just crazy.
'til next time.