'Hush' Review


Let's get the obvious out of the way right now, shall we? This movie has an awful title: Hush, ugh. Not only is it vague, generic, and instantly forgettable, but it's been used numerous times (as recently as 1998, if you can remember that Jessica Lange one!) AND it has practically nothing to do with the movie at hand. Although saddled with a ridiculously silly moniker, the British import known as Hush (ugh) is a not-half-bad roadway thriller that seems to be emulating everything from The Hitcher, Duel, and Road Games. In other words, if you've ever seen an "all in one night" thriller in which a dangerous person and an innocent rube play cat and mouse on the tough asphalt of America's isolated highways ... then you already know much of what Hush has to offer. But obviously if you've already seen all of those "roadway thrillers," then you'd probably be up for a new one.

Zakes (William Ash) and Elizabeth (Christine Bottomley) are suffering through a miserable road trip together. An aspiring (and lazy) writer, Zakes has the job of replacing the advertising posters found inside of highway rest stops. Elizabeth is along for the ride (ostensibly) to spend some time with her boyfriend, but she's got some bad news for Zakes -- if only the couple could stop arguing long enough to break up, at least there'd be a break in the tension.

The pair's complaints are put on hold once Zakes catches a glimpse of something spooky. It's dark and raining and the roads are a mess, but he's pretty SURE he just saw a young girl bound and gagged in the back of a truck!

The couple decides (of course) to snoop, and they quickly end up at a rest stop filled with loud drunks, exhausted clerks and security guards of questionable merit. And that's when their inquisitive nature spins 'round and bites the duo right in the ass.

Thus begins about an hour of constant inertia, one desperate mouse on the tail of a mysteriously evil cat. Plus the cops keep popping up, the weather and the vehicles sure aren't helpful, and a bunch of untrustworthy individuals keep throwing up road-blocks. For all of the convention and familiarity that Hush exhibits in the early going, the movie does a fine job of throwing a few wrenches into a generally predictable premise.

Writer / director Mark Tonderai keeps the flick moving (through moments obvious, intense, or unexpected), and doesn't bother to slow down when confronted with plot holes, unlikely coincidences, or the blatant stretching of credibility. The leads are string, the villain is effective, the visual display is just slick enough, and there's a real sense of pace to the flick.

Not much more than a B+ cable flick, Hush dusts off some very familiar parts and refits them into a surprisingly reliable "used car" of a thriller. It's no Hitcher (hell, it's not even a Joy Ride), but if you're a big fan of the good ol' white-knuckled blacktop killer thriller, Hush is more than diverting enough to warrant a visit.

Hush (and a handful of other cool genre indies), is presently available on IFC's On Demand service. They'll be delivering it on DVD later this year.