British director Mark Tonderai’s peacefully titled debut feature begins anything but silently. Couple Zakes (William Ash) and Beth (Christine Bottomley) are on a midnight car journey down the M1 and their bickering is gradually turning into a blazing row. When the shutter of a van in front of them momentarily flies up, Zakes is convinced he’s seen something. Their problems are just about to begin.
While this set-up suggests a road battle akin to Spielberg’s Duel, there is no van-on-car action in Hush. The focus here is on what happens when the protagonists get out of their vehicles, making the film closer in spirit to teen-horror Jeepers Creepers and Kurt Russell kidnap thriller Breakdown. But while Tonderai makes his low budget go a long way, creating a handful of gripping moments using excellent handheld camerawork, too many sections lack tension and fail to engage; it’s just not that scary. Unforgivably, the initial sight of the trapped woman is cut together too quickly for the scare to effectively impact the audience.
Tonderai’s script is also wanting, introducing several sub-plots that hint at depth but ultimately go nowhere. He eventually produces a thrilling and tense climax, but it doesn’t make up for all the padding that comes before.
General release from, Fri 13 Mar.