Hush (2016) Review

Welcome to Day Three of my “Four Days Of Mike Flanagan Movies“! Let’s see what I thought of home invasion movie Hush… I’ve already reviewed Oculus & the unique Absentia. Tomorrow I’ll hopefully be reviewing his new release Ouija: Origin Of Evil (if I’ve managed to see it by then!). 🙂 **Okay – it’s unlikely I’ll be reviewing that tomorrow as I’ve still not seen it. 😉 Have any of you seen it? 

Hush (2016)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Michael Trucco, Kate Siegel

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window.

My Opinion:

Hush is a worthy addition to the home invasion subgenre & I’d say it’s Mike Flanagan’s best film (of what I’ve seen so far). I slightly prefer Absentia just because I usually like supernatural horror more than straight-up home invasion flicks but Hush feels like Flanagan’s most well thought-out film whereas it seemed like he was making the story up as he went along in others. Hush has the best pacing, acting, and style of those I’ve seen and is the one I’d be most likely to recommend to people as it’s so straightforward & far less divisive than his other work.

The setup, a deaf woman being terrorized in her home by an intruder, is extremely simple but very effective. Has this been done before? The idea is so simple it feels like it must have… I know there was the Audrey Hepburn film where she played a blind woman terrorized in her home (Wait Until Dark – I just looked that up). Well, whether it’s been done before or not, Flanagan did well to include some very creative ways of using this setup (unlike in the thoroughly overrated Don’t Breathe, which makes a big deal of the “victim” being blind but then does nothing interesting with that plot device).

I especially liked the use of technology in Hush. This is an intelligent writer living on her own and, especially being deaf, she’s going to rely on a lot of modern technology for writing, communication, safely running a household, etc. The use of technology wasn’t overdone, however, and felt natural instead of forced. I liked how it made the usual “home invasion” thing feel more modern. Again, it’s a simple thing but helps give the film a further unique edge. Although, I suppose it will also date the film in the future…

Hush gives us yet another “strong female lead” (played fantastically by Kate Siegel), which is becoming more & more of a common theme in films (not something I’ll ever complain about!). However, she’s not perfect & I appreciated that. She’s real. As much as I’d like to kick ass like Furiosa or Ellen Ripley, I know I never could. I’d be seriously f*^ked in any extreme situation as I’m a serious wuss & even the simplest tasks in life give me panic attacks. Home intruder? I can’t even handle a spider in the bathtub! Siegel’s character makes mistakes. She makes some iffy & dangerous decisions while dealing with the man who is terrorizing her but she’s doing her best in a situation that most of us couldn’t handle. She’s very relatable & you care about what will happen to her (again – it’s very a simple thing to make your main character likable yet so many horror films fail to do this for some reason).

Hush is a good film with a strong central performance & I would definitely recommend it to fans of the home invasion genre. It takes a simple concept & does it very effectively, making use of the main character being deaf and having to use other senses & means of working around this in order to defend herself. I wouldn’t say that home invasion films are a favorite thing of mine but I’ve seen quite a few & enjoyed this one much more than most. Hush is definitely one of the better examples of this genre.

My Rating: 7/10

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) Review

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Produced by J. J. Abrams & Lindsey Weber

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

My Opinion:

Well, THIS was certainly an interesting one…

I usually like to write a review at least a couple of days after seeing something since, sometimes, I’m not quite sure how I feel about a movie. More often than not, they actually go up a little in my estimation (I ended up liking The Good, The Bad And The Ugly way more by the time I got around to reviewing it. I’m glad I didn’t review it immediately after seeing it). Well, I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane a few hours ago & I’m still trying to make my mind up on how I feel about it. I’ll say that my husband & I seem to disagree on it, which is unusual. I think I liked it quite a bit more than he did. At least, I think I liked it…

First of all, I’ll say that I really liked the first Cloverfield a lot. Okay – these movies are impossible to talk about without spoilers if you somehow know nothing whatsoever about them. If that’s the case, it’s probably best to skip my review. It occurred to me that some bloggers were actually a little too young for the first one when it came out. Oh MAN…. That’s depressing. So, therefore, some are watching this movie with zero idea of what it’s about. I think that’s the absolute best way to see & enjoy this one. Trust me – if you’re in the dark, stay that way.

While discussing this movie with the hubby, I realized what a big part of the problem with it is: It should have been the first film. SPOILERS BELOW if you haven’t seen it:
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Think about it! If the word “Cloverfield” wasn’t associated with “monster movie” because of the first film, this one could have been marketed as the movie it is in the beginning and then BAM! It would have gone all From Dusk Til Dawn on our asses! I’d have loved that. Then, if the first film was actually the second film, it would have carried things on in just the right way & I know I’d be a bigger fan of the overall Cloverfield thing as a whole right now. Instead, this movie ended in the way we were all expecting from the start if we’d seen the first film. And I imagine that those wanting a straight-up monster movie were probably quite disappointed to get something entirely different for three quarters of it.

Personally, I was a fan of the “two movies for the price of one” thing. Not everyone will be, I’m sure. I got the impression that the audience I saw this with were overall quite confused. And the hubby won’t like me saying this as he thinks I always misquote him but, screw it – He actually compared the ending to Skyline. Skyline!!! Have any of you seen that? If you haven’t, DON’T! It’s an enormous pile of shit with the worst movie ending in recent memory. That’s a huge insult to this movie! But, dammit, I can see why he made that comparison. Damn him. That’s ruined this movie for me a little. I should stop going to movies with that guy! But he’s my ride, so…. 😉 He also compared it to Signs, which isn’t quite as bad. It has a definite Signs vibe but M Night Shyamalan isn’t loved by everyone and I think the same people who really hate his stuff also won’t like 10 Cloverfield Lane.

I do like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I enjoyed her performance and cared about her character. I can’t say I really connected with the two men, though. I didn’t think the characters were as well developed as they should’ve been considering how long we spend with them trapped underground. And. Um. Hmm. Yeah, I don’t know what else to say and when I get that way I tend to ramble on without making any sort of point. I think I’d rather just stop writing about this movie and instead discuss it with you guys in the comments. It’s a good one for discussion!

I’ll just end with this: If I’ve read things right, the plan is to sort of use the “Cloverfield” name to make a series of unrelated films with strange & interesting stories in the same way the name “The Twilight Zone” was used for a series of bizarre stories. That is something that very much has my interest as I think the original Twilight Zone was the best series of stories EVER. If they do that, it could end up like The Twilight Zone did: 90% utterly brilliant stories with 10% that were real stinkers. Some will see 10 Cloverfield Lane as one of the stinkers. If this plan happens and we have ten Cloverfield movies years from now, I’d be very interested to look back on them all to see where this one ranks for me. If there are enough utterly brilliant ones, I think I’d end up actually appreciating this one a little bit more as well. Let’s see where they go with these!

My Rating: 7/10

Short Term 12 (2013) Review

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Short Term 12 (2013)

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Starring:
Brie Larson
John Gallagher, Jr.
Kaitlyn Dever
Rami Malek
Keith Stanfield
Kevin Hernandez
Melora Walters
Stephanie Beatriz
Lydia Du Veaux
Alex Calloway
Frantz Turner
Diana-Maria Riva

Running time: 96 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend.

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My Opinion:

I remember this movie had a lot of positive buzz when it was out & I’ve been meaning to watch it for a long time, especially after I then saw Brie Larson in a couple other movies & thought she was pretty fantastic. I thought she was the actual highlight of the somewhat mediocre 21 Jump Street & even of that weird Don Jon movie (which is pretty impressive as she only had one line). Oh, and she was good in The Spectacular Now (probably should have been the lead instead of Shailene Woodley).

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Well, Larson is great in Short Term 12. I’m surprised she hasn’t yet gotten the sort of attention that Jennifer Lawrence did for Winter’s Bone. I mean, I think she did get a bunch of awards for it but she’s still not as famous as Lawrence. Hopefully she’ll get the right sort of role that gets her more recognition. And this might sound weird but, hey – I’m a girl & I like seeing girls who look like regular people in movies for a change! She’s cute, obviously, but not some freakishly gorgeous supermodel.

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In Short Term 12, Larson plays a 20-something who works with a group of other young adults in a home for troubled teens. It’s a fairly heavy film but the characters are pretty well developed and you really do care about what will happen to each of them. You get to know several of the teens at the home but they mainly focus on the stories of two of them while we slowly learn more about Larson’s character’s background & how it affects her job and her life with her boyfriend, who also works at the group home. Her boyfriend is sweet & funny and they have what appears to be a great relationship. I’ve always said that I find it very hard to like a movie if I hate all the characters and Short Term 12 is the exact opposite of this. Even those who are in the home and are getting in fights, swearing & spitting at staff, etc, all have their reasons & just need people to be there for them. I liked everyone in this and hoped for a happy resolution for all of them. It’s not all “sad drama”, though – the boyfriend has a nice sense of humor & there are some heartwarming scenes. I was asked what other movies this is like and I couldn’t really think of one. Maybe something like Stand And Deliver and, hell, maybe even Dangerous Minds? But more “indie” and with a younger feel to it than those as everyone is in their early-20s or their teens in Short Term 12. I do think, if I’d seen this as a teenager, I’d have loved it & watched it over & over like I did with Stand By Me every day after school when I was 13.

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Summary:

Great performances & characters make Short Term 12 a fulfilling movie experience. It’s a bit heavy & a little sad but manages to be uplifting as well and gives us characters we care about. It doesn’t feel contrived & the people in it feel “real”. The director wrote this after working in a similar home just like Larson’s character, which is probably why the movie feels so genuine. Yeah, I thought this one was pretty good.

My Rating: 8/10

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