52 FILMS BY WOMEN:
#8. HUSH (2016) U.S.A.
–Written by Kate Seigel
Not every film by a woman that I post will be loved by me.
But I will respect that a woman is part of the process and evaluate the project.
Such is the case with Hush.
Premise: Maddie (Kate Seigel) is at home alone and must face off against a maniacal serial killer (John Gallagher Jr.-The Belko Experiement) .
Hook: she is deaf and mute.
A woman being chased at night in the woods (Any Slasher flick) is not new, a deaf and mute woman being hunted (a bunch of Marlee Matlin dramas/thrillers). So where is it fresh…um,well.
It doesn’t have to be entirely new, but the twist is often enough to get us excited. I chose to review this film because I thought there might be a fresh take on a disabed person working with their tool set and proving them to be super powers. I was also excited to promote a wider swath of actors. There are not enough roles out there, moreover not enough opportunities for people with disabilities to get work in the industry. So, it was a bit of a let down (Do your Homework KLM) to come to see that the co-writer Ms. Seigel wrote a vehicle for herself with her husband Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija, Gerald’s Game) where she was neither mute nor deaf and did not offer insight into the experience of this world. Further, reading this Article from Deaf actress Rebecca-Anne Withey on how Hush is not quite as accurate as it could be, at first made me sad, then mad.
If you choose to appropriate something that is not your wheelhouse or that you are not familiar with keenly… especially race, gender, disability-you have the added task of MASTERING it and bringing in (Employing authentic consultants) to do justice to the truths of that character.
Yes, I would have preferred if they had hired a deaf actress, considering there are fewer roles for them in the industry. But if you opt to do it yourself…know everything about it call upon people who are experts to confirm and validate your performance of their experience.
Hush (2016) USA
Written by Kate Seigel and Mike Flanagan
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring: Kate Seigel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, & Samantha Sloyan