Starring: William Ash, Christine Bottomley Directed by: Mark Tonderai

The movie Hush is a lot of things.  Low-budget.  Absurd.  Scary.  Suspenseful.  Cat and Mouse. British.  Gritty.

But, above all, Hush is a movie you have probably seen before.

Hush starts with couple Beth and Zakes (No, really, it’s Zakes.  I checked IMDB as I was watching the film, thinking I was mistaking his thick accent.  No sir, I was not.) on a road trip.  Zakes has the unenviable job of being the guy who changes the posters on the walls at gas stations and rest stops.  In order to prove his job complete, he takes a picture of each one with Beth’s phone.

On the way to their eventual (somewhat ambiguous) destination, a cargo truck cuts in front of them.  As it does so the back door flies open for a fleeting second and Zakes sees a woman tied up in a cage.  After calling the police Zakes pulls over to make the next stop on his job route.

He and Beth have a bit of a falling out at this particular stop, and Beth contends she will simply call her friend Sarah to come pick her up.  Zakes stalks out to the car to pout and wait for Beth to change her mind.  Meanwhile Beth is, of course, busy getting kidnapped by the cargo truck driver who has just happened to stop at the same location.

Zakes realizes all this and speeds after our antagonist in a stolen car as the game of cat and mouse begins.  If all of this sounds hauntingly familiar that’s, quite frankly, because it is.  In plot it is very similar to films like The Hitcher, or Breakdown, or Joy Ride, or Duel, or even something like Wolf Creek or Wrong Turn.  But more than anything it reminds me of a little film called High Tension, a pitch perfect French horror/thriller that completely craps itself in the final act.

Luckily, though, Hush doesn’t fall victim to the same contrivances.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of familiar “He would never do that!” or “Why would he do that?!” or “No way in hell could he kick that out so easy!” devices, but they all play out with just enough of a twist and more than enough directorially infused suspense.

And at a budget of only $1,000,000 (well, actually, pounds, but I can’t find the pound insignia) the direction in this film is well above average.  Almost every scene is gritty and taught, and there are a couple unexpected set pieces.  In addition gore is kept to a bare minimum.  The acting is nothing to scoff at either, but movies where your primary function is to yell and drive, you don’t exactly have to be Bill Paxton.  Or maybe you have to be almost exactly like Bill Paxton.  Depending on what you think about Bill Paxton, I suppose.

In the end, for a low-budget, straight to video, familiarly-plotted film, this is a very recommendable piece of work.  While nothing remarkable, almost every aspect is well above the average of similar, larger-budgeted Hollywood productions.

Written by Ryan Venson