By Ryan McPherson
Over the past decade, a divide has never been clearer when finding yourself at the fork in the road called horror cinema. On one side of the fork, you’ll find yourself knee deep in torture porn. On the other, cheap imitations of the classics that made horror famous. Of course you can only see the same things so many times before they tire but unfortunately, the way filmmakers have chosen to show their originality as of late, has been almost solely through special effects. The end result has been a visual onslaught of spilled blood, dismembered bodies, and grotesque mutilations. Viewers don’t leave the theater scared, but they do leave their lunch behind.
While Director Michael Kehoe’s latest film, Hush, could never be described as a gore-fest, it would also be unfair to label it as an inferior reproduction of films past. Although you’ll clearly find similarities to the latter of the aforementioned paths, Kehoe seemingly makes his way by following some of the footprints left before him, while also meandering in the woods to poke sleeping bears.
Hush starts out much like many horror films: scary house, young girl, power outage, shrieking coming from upstairs. We find ourselves following a young woman, left to babysit a little girl, a little girl who is just too scared to go to sleep. This little girl, like many her age, has no problem believing in the things that go bump in the night. The reassurances from her caretaker for the evening simply aren’t enough, she knows something is awry. Yawn right? Not so fast. This is where Kehoe proves he has the chops to compete with more recognizable auteurs.
Kehoe masterfully builds suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat almost from the second you hit play. With a running time of only about 5 minutes, you find yourself (even after multiple viewings) trapped in a seemingly never ending terror. You know something bad is going to happen to this unsuspecting heroine, you just don’t know what.
Sure you’ve got it all figured out. You know exactly how this ends. I promise you, you don’t. Kehoe weaves an intricate web, packed with so much misdirection, even world-class magicians will be left wondering how they got duped. If you only see one short film this year, Hush definitely deserves your attention.