Ash in a Mad Dash
As a Brit "Hush" immediately appealed for the simple fact we have the horror on the road tale, the sort which features a man battling against a crazed truck driver, but set in Britain and I was looking forward to see what could be done with the usual horror story set in somewhere other than America. Sadly a different location doesn't really make for a different movie and whilst there is some creativity "Hush" ends up like ideas from various other horror road movies. And that sadly means that whilst writer and director Mark Tonderai strives to create atmosphere and tension because it feels like we've seen it all before it becomes a struggle.
Things are not going smoothly between Zake (William Ash) and his girlfriend Beth (Christine Bottomley) and whilst they drive from one motorway service station for his job, putting posters up, they argue and row. But their night takes a surprising turn when Zake believes he saw a naked woman in a cage in the back of a truck as it swerved to avoid hitting him. And when Beth disappears at a service station he believes that who ever is driving the truck has kidnapped her. Putting his life at risk he desperately follows the truck and in his wake leaving a trail of destruction with the police after him when a murdered body is found and the truck driver trying to lose him.
To be honest whilst having this road horror set on the British M1 was an interesting concept the early scenes which focus on the disintegrating relationship between Zake and Beth as they row did little to attract me. Maybe as a Brit listening to a young couple row and have strops felt too much like normal life, it basically lacked charm and in a way this sort of movie needs to charm you so that you warm to those in danger. It meant that whilst I appreciated that Zake was hard working he also came over as a knob and Beth as a two timing bitch, it felt wrong and meant when the trouble starts I felt nothing for them.
Now in fairness when trouble starts it's a great split second moment of horror as Zake believes he sees a naked woman in a cage in a back of a truck. It's a blink and you will miss it scene but the shock and panic which immediately follows is good as is Zake trying to sneak a peak into the back of the truck when it pulls up. But to be honest that is as exciting as "Hush" gets as after that it becomes quite a traditional road horror as following an incident at a service station we have Zake trying to follow the truck believing Beth has been kidnapped whilst the truck driver goes after Zake. We go down dark country lanes, there is an isolated house, there are close misses as Zake nearly gets ploughed down until we get the final show down. It all feels familiar and whilst there is still some creativity from a couple of security guards at a service station catching Zake in the ladies looking for Beth to the actual compound where the truck driver goes many of the moments of horror feel like they have come from other movies.
Now the trouble is that this sort of road horror should get you to the edge of your seat and then make you recoil by a sudden shock, but the sudden shocks are telegraphed. When Zake is running round the trucker's compound in between cargo trailers you know what is coming and whilst there is a nice touch with dripping blood the outcome doesn't surprise you. But that is not the only trouble as some of the horror is a little too far fetched that it borders on the cheesy, be it a scene in the isolated house or the final outcome.
Now what was a nice surprise was William Ash as Zake as he led "Hush" nicely. I may not have enjoyed the opening salvo of whiney arguing between Zake and Beth but Ash is convincing and so is the level of fear he displays when it becomes a game of cat n mouse between him and the truck driver. Of course it's far fetched that Zake would go all action man but Ash again delivers this with a sense of normality so even the more outrageous moments have an element of reality because of his acting. And to be honest whilst there are other characters such as Beth played by Christine Bottomley and the faceless Trucker "Hush" does end up being almost a one man show.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Hush" has the novelty of being a road horror set in Britain the final outcome is not so different to those big budget road horrors. And as such whilst at times it is clever and has some good acting the end result is all a little too familiar.