It's been understood since the beginning of time that in-laws are crazy. It's usually just because you're not used to the way they act so it's easy to label them as nutcases and then never want to spend time with them. That's the joke anyway. My in-laws are fine people. However, if I had Martha Baring (Jessica Lange) as my mother-in-law, I'd be frightened beyond belief. She doesn't just want to tell you how to raise your kids, she wants to forcibly extract them from your womb and then kill you off so she can take care of them. Yeah, she's nutty.
Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Jackson Baring (Johnathon Schaech) are a happy couple. They love each other, live in a nice loft in Manhattan, and have a nice life. They're married, become pregnant, and basically live the life that so many other married people live. Jackson's family owns a farm that breeds horses out in the countryside. It's worth a sizable chunk of change, but Jackson's mom Martha, doesn't want to leave. She's overly protective of the land. There's just something off about her.
Helen and Jackson end up moving out the country in order to get the farm back up and running. To bring horses back and start breeding again. Martha loves this, because now she can control the situation. Her nutcase wheels are turning, and once Helen becomes pregnant her plan kicks into action.
'Hush' is your standard thriller where the antagonist torments the protagonist. There are creepy glances, odd happenings, and an all together unsettling feeling. How would you feel if your mother-in-law tried controlling your life or tried to take your baby?
The movie never really gets going though. It spends far too much time establishing the fact that Martha is creepiness personified. We get it, the lady is wacko, let's move on now. Jessica Lange does do a good job at acting like a mother-in-law who perpetuates the stereotype of crazy mother-in-laws. Sorry ladies. I know that there's tons of understandable, loving mother-in-laws out there, but you have Jessica Lange to blame for being totally misunderstood.
'Hush' isn't all that suspenseful, except for the final few scenes. The rest of the movie slogs on through scenes where Martha stares wild-eyed at Helen for no particular reason, and apparently no one else notices. Helen finds a few allies who know that Martha is insane, but they never really help her out. Like so many thrillers, the protagonist is on her own. She has to find out the secrets and deal with the maniac all by her lonesome.
The ending is certainly convenient. Jackson goes out of town at just the right moment for the climax to start. I have to hand it to the movie for putting together a truly taught final few minutes, but the rest of the film needed to pull in the slack. It needed to cut the fat and focus itself more. If you're looking for a dated thriller then 'Hush' could be a nice bargain bin find.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Hush' is brought to Blu-ray by Image Entertainment. It's been given a 25GB Blu-ray Disc, a standard keepcase, and a region A coding.
Usually Image churns out rather good transfers, but 'Hush' is nowhere near good. Sub-par is more like it. Now I don't really expect much from an obscure catalogue title filmed in the late 90s, but I have to believe that 'Hush' could've looked a bit better.
Fine detail is nigh unnoticeable. The entire movie suffers from a soft gaussian blur. White light consistently bleeds into any color that it's surrounding. Haloing is constant and unrelenting. The picture is needlessly noisy, although when it comes to scratches and dirt on the transfer it looks clean. The noise is digital and is far more than just grain.
Colors are muted and make the movie look like it was shot in the early 80s instead of the late 90s. Edges are murky and never seem all that resolute. Blacks are never really deep or inky. Unfortunately, this presentation closely resembles what we'd expect from a DVD presentation. It's far too soft for its own good, and the detail has all but been sapped from the picture. Now, it's possible that most of this has to do with the source material, but still, there are quite a few scenes in this movie that I must believe should look much better than they do. The long-range photography of the countryside is blurry and unfocused. Those should've been stand-out moments, but instead they suffer from the same overall softness.
There's really nothing overtly special about 'Hush's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, but you won't be using it to show off your sound system's capabilities anytime soon.
Dialogue is clear and is piped through the center and front channels intelligibly. Well-rounded directionality helps with the depth of the sound design as people talk out of frame. The Christopher Young's suspenseful, yet fairly generic score, is pumped through every channel to try and draw you in. LFE has a few moments of booming clarity, mostly during really intense scenes, and the hoof beats of horses. Rear channels are a bit drab. Even in crowded horse racing tracks or house parties, the rear channels are pretty unengaged. Like I said, this track does its job, but little more.
There are no special features on this disc.
So, how many people were hoping that 'Hush' finally got a Blu-ray release? Yeah, that's what I thought. This is one of those catalogue titles that will be had for ten bucks or less in the bargain bin in a few months. It really isn't worth adding to your collection. I would say skip this one all together.