Tag Archives: Kate Siegel

Hush (2016) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Sadistic violence
Kate Siegel as Maddie Young
John Gallagher Jr. as The Man
Michael Trucco as John Stanley
Samantha Sloyan as Sarah Greene
Emilia Graves as Max
Director: Mike Flanagan

A deaf writer (Kate Siegel) who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer (John Gallagher Jr.) appears at her window.

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Mike Flanagan is one of the best horror directors working at the moment with Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil and would go on to direct Gerald’s Game (and is going to direct Doctor Sleep, the adaptation of the sequel to Steven King’s The Shining). Hush is no exception, its another solid and gripping horror flick from the director. Home invasion horror movies aren’t very uncommon but Hush still manages to be executed in a good way, being rather effective and tense, and it definitely deserves a lot more attention.

Hush is a straightforward horror movie, a masked killer is trying to kill the vulnerable but capable protagonist, conflict ensues. They don’t dwell too much on setting up the characters than it has to, but it’s not like things feel underdeveloped, its developed as much as it needs to be. The movie doesn’t do innovative things for the home invasion subgenre, but it still has its creative moments. It does have a unique aspect to it, with the protagonist being deaf, it could’ve just been a cheap gimmick to make it somewhat stand apart from all the other thrillers but the execution of the movie is done in a way that it doesn’t feel like that. There isn’t much dialogue in the movie, after the first scenes of the movie, it’s pretty much almost all visual from then on, and with that its done rather effectively. Hush is only 82 minutes long which was really the perfect length, it doesn’t drag on for an unnecessarily long time and the characters and story are simple enough that it doesn’t require a longer runtime.

Kate Siegel was great, likable and engaging as the lead, she has to do all the character work with pretty much just her body movements and you could really buy her as a deaf person. She was believably vulnerable and yet believably capable of surviving everything the antagonist throws at her. The unnamed masked killer, played by John Gallagher Jr. was good as well. He gives off an unnerving and creeping vibe, even when he has a mask on and is quite effective, despite not really having any reason or motivation behind his actions and goals in the movie. Those two are really the only notable actors, the other actors are fine enough in their roles but really their characters are just throwaways.

Mike Flanagan is no stranger to making horror movies, so it’s no surprise that he directed Hush well. As previously said, a lot of the movie relies just on visuals, and Flanagan was great at visual storytelling here. The tension is also done really well, you’re not quite certain which way things are going to go, there’s a real sense that our main character might not make it out. It also does not hold back at all with how brutal and violent the killer can be, really emphasising how dangerous he is.

Hush is quite an overlooked solid horror flick ever since it came out in 2016. It’s not like one of the greatest horror movies or anything (and I probably wouldn’t even say it’s one of Mike Flanagan’s best) but it is quite good and worth the watch if you like horror movies. It’s a decent and creative little thriller that deserves a little more attention than it’s being receiving.

Gerald’s Game (2017) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Carla Gugino as Jessie Burlingame
Bruce Greenwood as Gerald Burlingame
Chiara Aurelia as Young Jessie
Carel Struycken as “Moonlight Man”/Raymond Andrew Joubert
Henry Thomas as Tom
Kate Siegel as Sally
Director: Mike Flanagan

When a harmless game between a married couple in a remote retreat suddenly becomes a harrowing fight for survival, wife Jessie (Carla Gugino) must confront long-buried demons within her own mind – and possibly lurking in the shadows of her seemingly empty house.

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I had been hearing things about Netflix’s Gerald’s Game for a while. Mike Flanagan has been directing a lot of solid horror films with Oculus, Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil, so naturally his involvement with the film immediately that had my interest. Add on top of that Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood and the fact that they are adapting a Stephen King book (that I’ve admittedly never read) and you’ve got some great stuff. And indeed, Gerald’s Game is a really effective movie, one that’s simple yet very effective.

It’s an adaptation of a story by Stephen King and once again I haven’t read it, but I heard that it’s not one of King’s finest work. That didn’t seem to stop Flanagan, however, how seemed to be able to make it one of the better Stephen King live action adaptations. On the whole, Gerald’s Game isn’t really scary to me, save for a few moments. It is more of a psychological thriller (for the most part at least) and is very captivating from start to finish. It’s pretty much focussed on our main character trying to escape, while going through some hallucinations (won’t go into detail about them because I didn’t know much and was surprised by some things). On the whole, it had my attention and was really effective. There are some faults with Gerald’s Game however. There is quite a lot of exposition in the movie, and there are lots of flashbacks showing the backstory of Gugino’s character which is necessary to the story and it ties into the present storyline but it does drag a little in terms of pacing. Then there’s the ending which I do have mixed feelings about, it’s not just too long, without spoiling anything it feels a little forced and doesn’t work with the rest of the movie at all. The movie is an hour and 43 minutes long and outside of the flashback and exposition scenes which does bring the pacing down, it works. However a shorter run time probably would’ve made it work much better.

A performance that didn’t and still doesn’t get enough praise is Carla Gugino here, who is great here. Much of Gerald’s Game is basically based around her being handcuffed to a bed and is relying on her to carry the movie and she absolutely delivers. Honestly she is one of the best parts of the movie, her character has to go through a lot. Bruce Greenwood was also good and deserves some praise as well as the husband of Gugino’s character of Jessie. So often Greenwood has been in very supporting roles (being quite a character actor), and while he is that again here, here he gets some chances to shine. Most of the movie is just focussed on these two, but other performances by a few people like Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel are decent enough as well.

Mike Flanagan knows how to direct horrors and thrillers well and he does it once again with Gerald’s Game. There are also some great used of shadows, lighting and colour at certain points. There is one scene in the third act which is particularly intense and without delving too deep into it, it’s very hard to watch. There is no music played throughout the entire movie and it really benefited from it.

Gerald’s Game is a pretty good movie, it’s an effective thriller with an excellent lead performance from Carla Gugino and Mike Flanagan’s great direction. It is however brought down a little by the overuse of exposition, a little too many flashbacks and the ending which doesn’t quite work. With all that said, it may end up being one of the better movies based on a Stephen King novel. If you like horror thrillers, Gerald’s Game might be what you want, give it a watch if you have Netflix.