How often have you heard in your lives, Fellow Fans, the old adage about how sometimes, “less is more”? As we all know, horror films are certainly one place that this lesson is seldom applied. Now, don’t take that the wrong way; if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that I love an over-the-top, blood-soaked excess of mindless gory exploitation as much or more than anybody. Still, in my broad horror-fan weirdness, I also have a relentless appreciation for any well-done minimalist take on the genre that creeps me out, makes me actually think, and leaves me thinking about it after it’s over.
Hush is a short film written and directed by Elizabeth Beckett that fits this bill precisely.
We’re introduced to a young woman that is obviously in some kind of trouble; we see different snippets of her life; almost sinister moments of silence with what we assume to be her parents (also a very troubled pair), different times of her own introspection, and candlelit vigils where we see only pain and confusion in her countenance. Coupled with this, we see strife and despair…and it’s accompanied by the tittering laughter of a small child, unseen in the overall darkness and pall of unease throughout the flick…
…and there’s not really anything else I can say. I will tell you that my description is inadequate; Beckett’s scene composition, making optimal use of shadow and perception, is adept and effective; when you take into account that this film had virtually no budget and unknown but convincing actors, it becomes even more impressive. I found that I solved one mystery fairly easily, but was rewarded with another enigma for my efforts; the scripting for this almost dialogue-free film was well-done.
This was a short film, and as such (keeping with my less is more theme), this will be a short review; I can’t really tell you anything else without ruining the experience you’d have if you checked it out yourself, which is what I recommend. I’ll close simply by saying that the film raised many questions in my mind, and while it left me with some answers, I am now stuck with a strong desire to know more of the story.
That’s a good thing, though; as you’ve heard me say before, I believe being left with such questions is more important in a short than in any other type of film; a short should give you enough to plant the filmmaker’s story in your head, get the gears turning, and let you do the heavy lifting…
…and even though she only takes up eight minutes of your time, Beckett’s writing and direction does this in a big way. She piqued my curiosity and got my attention.
I’ll be following her future projects with interest.