JBB Featured Film Reviewer

Ben Nagy reviews ‘Mr. Hush’: Bad driving leads to worse karma

A man of many costumes stalks Holland Price (Brad Loree) with the intent of making him suffer for something his grandfather did long ago.

A killer keeps going after Brad Loree’s significant others and we get callbacks to a couple of horror classics in this one

A mysterious man of multiple costumes who doesn’t age torments the descendant of a terrible driver.

No, it’s not a reboot of Days of Thunder where we have Liberace going after Tom Cruise’s son.

This is Mr. Hush, where a smelly guy who starts out calling himself Father Flanigan (Edward X. Young) shows up on Halloween night and ruins the life of Holland Price (Brad Loree) by cutting the throat of Holland’s wife in front of him and then making Holland’s daughter disappear.

Halloween is about to get ruined for the Price family, from left, Julie (Jessica Cameron), Holland (Brad Loree) and young Amy (Amanda Madison) in this production still from Mr. Hush, courtesy of the movie’s official website mrhush.net.

Years later, Price is a vagabond living in a tent next to a buddy named Donald and has grown out his hair and a beard, searching for his daughter who he thinks is still alive.

Price gets close to a co-worker and her daughter, but then Flanigan, a.k.a. Mr. Hush shows up again with murderous intent.

It’s all explained in the end as to why Mr. Hush (he’s called that because he sings that lullaby “Hush, Little Baby” after chopping people’s throats) wants to cause Holland so much pain, but Holland is imprisoned in a basement torture chamber at the mercy of Hush and his crazed assistant with some pretty dim chances of escape.

Holland Price (Brad Loree) wields a bat to defend a girl from the menace of Mr. Hush in a scene that leads to the film’s best line in this still courtesy of the film’s official website mrhush.net.

The ironic thing is that for a movie called Mr. Hush, there’s an awful lot of talking and, especially in the basement torture scenes, yelling and not because someone’s getting tortured.

(By the way, Mr. Hush features one of the most compliant torture victims in the history of movies.) 

Here’s a note to all aspiring filmmakers from your friendly neighborhood critic that I’ve said before in prior reviews and I’ll probably be saying again: Show and don’t tell.

The strength of a movie is you get to see what’s on the screen in addition to listening to the words. But if people want to hear a whole bunch of words, they’ll put in the earbuds and listen to a podcast. 

Yes, dialogue sometimes is necessary to advance the plot and it is really hard to work on a small budget. But if the scenes are filled with people talking about what they saw or what they ate, unless it’s Robert Shaw-level monologuing in Jaws or you’ve got some interesting camera tricks going on, it’s going to get the audience fidgeting because they want to SEE WHAT HAPPENS next to move the story ahead.

The worst offender of this in my opinion of all time is Quentin Tarantino in Death Proof. I saw Grindhouse as a double feature as God intended on opening day. I ordered the large popcorn and gooped up my intestinal tract for the next three days by getting a refill and butter. I ordered the large Mr. Pibb and anticipated that after experiencing the glopola fest that was Planet Terror that I would get an action-filled carnage fest about a psychotic stuntman.

I got a 15-minute dialogue scene in a bar, one car crash, a half-hour dialogue scene in a diner, another dialogue scene where they haggle over being able to drive a car, a 15-minute car chase and then a death lifted out of 10 Angry Women.

Any director can fall into that trap, so director David Lee Madison shouldn’t feel bad about needing lengthy interludes between the action. The camera steadiness in the first murder scene, the dream sequence in the woods and the post-credits scene could have had some improvement to make it a better viewing experience.

I will say that for those who pay attention, there are some good hints as to what Mr. Hush’s true nature really is, making the casting of Stephen Geoffreys all the more inspired (see Ben’s Bloody Best) below. The makeup effects on Mr. Hush at the end also evoke one of the most iconic creature creations in late 1970s horror. Madison (who also wrote the sucker) did get a few great one-liners in there as well, just wish there were more.

  • Best Meta Reference: Stephen Geoffreys as Stark, the source of all that is meta, wearing a “Crazy Eddie” T-shirt and throwing it back to 1985.
  • Best Final Line: Geoffreys again, saying, “You bitch” before getting stabbed.
  • Best Profanity: After getting tied to a pole in Mr. Hush’s basement torture room, Holland lets the F-bombs fly, with gusto.
  • Best Comeback: After being called a “mother(expletive),” Mr. Hush comes back with: “Really? I didn’t even like my mother.”
  • Best Way to Recognize Your Relationship Status, According to Donald, Who Lives in a Tent: “You kissed her and you opened up to her about your past — I’d say you’re dating.”
  • Most Concern for Employee Relations: Mac, the restaurant owner, who says “I certainly pay you enough money to not live in a f—ing tent.”
  • How not to endear yourself to law enforcement: Restaurant patron “Mad Dog” heckles the sheriff by saying “Hey, Sheriff, why don’t you get off your punk ass and do your job?” But then again, the sheriff immediately gets up and leaves the restaurant. So it worked.
  • Best 1990s callback: Brian O’Halloran, he of Kevin Smith fame, shows up in a mid-credits scene and runs into a roadblock, wanders around some woods that he’s not even supposed to be in and meets a blunt object.

Going to give Mr. Hush two stars.

It’s available directly through the Mr. Hush website or for purchase and rental on Vimeo and on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Be seeing you for Joe Bob’s Red Christmas on all the social media hangouts. Not sure if there’ll be a Screening Room next week since I’ll be helping Laura review the special for the Last Call blog. Depends on how many energy drinks I consume. See y’all on Friday!

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