Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mr. Hush (2011)

Mr. Hush is a movie that doesn’t even feel real. This feels like what a space alien would produce if he saw a movie a hundred years ago in some kind of intergalactic museum long after humankind went extinct. And then he went back intending to try his hand at it, but he got lost and ended up wandering in a spatial void for dozens of years, losing his mind in the process. And then he got back to his own universe but was unable to cope with the reality of all that he had lost, being that everything he’d once known had now forgotten him. Eventually, years after descending into a drug and alcohol induced stupor, a tiny lightbulb sets off in his brain and by some miracle, he remembers the movie. While trying to make it, after months and months of blood, sweat and tears put into the project, he accidentally urinates all over it whilst on a boozing spree. The finished product gets shipped back in time and released by some con-artist movie studio as Mr. Hush.

What I’m trying to say is, this movie should come with an ‘abandon all hope all ye who enter here’ sign taped to the front of the DVD box.

Director: David Madison
Starring: Stephen Geoffreys, Brad Loree

The movie starts off with some credits – or rather, a PowerPoint presentation displaying the credits of all the people involved in this whole mess. You know, just so you know who to blame. And the over-dramatic music seems to be under the impression this is a movie which deserves over-dramatic music.

We then get some cardboard cut-outs of human beings chatting in a kitchen. How rude of the director to trick these two porn actors into lowering themselves to appearing in this horror movie!

So I guess these two are parents of a little girl named Plot Device. Maybe that isn’t her name, but shut up, you’ll never actually watch this anyway. We get an agonizing over-five-minute scene of these people talking about their Halloween plans. The dad, Holland, says he has fond memories of his father starting Halloween early when he was a kid so he could dress Holland up in two costumes and hit all the houses twice.

This guy was Michael Myers once. As if that is some sort of offense man, I'm sure you're really nice and all, but that just means you can be silent and walk around angrily really well.

Uh, I’m not sure that’s a fond memory, dude. I hate to break it to you, but your dad was probably either robbing those houses or cheating on your mom with the housewives living in them. Your childhood was a lie.

We then get several way too long scenes of the family just being cutesy, doing things with absolutely no substance and wasting the audience’s time with acting and dialogue so bad, you could practically call this an interactive horror film. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s simple – most horror films have characters dying as a plot point. This one, however, makes YOU want to kill the characters, in incredibly violent ways, with how annoying they are. What an interesting, avant garde way to make a horror movie! YOU are the killer! What a fascinating moral grey area with which to look at ourselves through the mirror of film!

What an amazing camera angle ... I love scenes tilted to one side where you can't even fully see all the actors in the shot...

Oh, I’m sorry – am I drowning out the super important scenes of the husband and wife talking about who’s going to be invited to a Halloween party? Not only that, but a Halloween party we never see! Genius writing, I must say. Then we get another near ten minutes with nothing happening. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that … after all, we get a lot of really important scenes here. Like, talking about how good of a father Holland is. Or about what costumes Holland saw while taking his daughter trick or treating.

So if you were wondering if this was just a compilation of some family’s home videos – the acting levels and camera work certainly would forgive you for wondering that – we do finally get a plot dragging its fat ass through the door. Some creepy guy in a priest outfit comes to the door and asks if he can use their bathroom, saying theirs is the first house he’s seen for half a mile with its lights on – yeah, I really believe THAT, seeing as the movie already said it was Halloween night and these people live in a populated suburban area. Since I gathered that simply from my own powers of reason and deduction, and Holland believes the guy’s story despite that he ACTUALLY LIVES in this movie’s universe, I think it’s safe to say the air in his brain got cut off somehow when he was inside his mother.

I mean seriously. He just lets the guy in and points him to the bathroom, then sits back on the couch and does nothing. What an absolute waste of existence. But hey, maybe it will be okay. Maybe the guy won’t actually do anything at all … oh, wait:

I'd say 'I told you so,' but I have a feeling Holland was passed out drooling on the day they taught 'don't talk to strangers' in Kindergarten.

So, yeah, the wife gets killed and then the daughter gets kidnapped. Holland gives an agonized scream and it COULD have been a sad moment – but come on, if you’re this dumb, how are we really supposed to feel bad? Maybe if the acting was any good. But seriously. This whole thing is just a poorly made PSA for not letting strangers into your house. Oh, the killer sings the “hush little baby, don’t you cry” song? Why? To give the film a reason to be called Mr. Hush? Can’t these goddamn movies just have a killer without some kind of stupid gimmick that makes no sense? I mean there’s just no logic in it. It never has any kind of tie-in to the story. You might as well just have him wear a top hat, a clown nose and singing Happy Birthday. Why? Well, it makes as much sense as what the movie actually has in it.

We then get a bizarre sequence in which Holland goes to the dentist and finds out that there’s been a slight change of personnel:

Yeah, because God knows that’s the final straw! You can kill my wife, you can kidnap my daughter, but impersonating my DENTIST?!? That’s just too far. Oh well; it turns out to be a dream anyway. Which makes way for the best old-man costume I’ve ever seen:

I can believe he gets really worn out and haggard looking, but he doesn't look anything like he did in the opening scenes anymore. I mean at least try for a little realism...

Seriously. Benjamin Button, move over; we’ve got a new prize for old man makeup in films. Praise the Gods who let this effect come to be! Oh okay – it’s terrible in every sense of the word. How are you supposed to take this seriously, you ask? Well, it’s simple: lots and lots of alcohol.

So despite now looking like a reject from a drunk 90s bar rock band in rehab, Holland works at some shitty diner and gets shouted at by his boss. He lives in a tent with some fat homeless man, and mopes around all the time. Here’s another example of how haphazard the directing in this is: for like ten minutes, we have no idea what exactly happened after his wife was killed in the opening scene. Eventually he tells us he’s been looking for his missing daughter for ten years now. Yeah because you know, moping around and spending your time taking peoples’ shifts at a shitty diner will totally give you tons of time to search for your missing daughter. Brainpower! It's not just for the sane anymore.

Another one of the amazing camera angles this movie has to offer us. Truly lopsided shots with one actor badly out of focus despite being right there are where the money is at.

Then he gets invited over to this woman’s house who he works with. She has a daughter who acts as if she had a gun pointed to her head forcing her to do this. I mean there isn’t any other explanation for why she sounds so bored. The woman and Holland have some riveting first date conversation about how the woman’s husband died in the war overseas. Because that’s such great first date talk … “hey, let’s talk about my dead husband and emotional scars!” Well I gotta say, it’s no wonder this woman’s schedule is so full of dates with different men all the time!

Oh, wait. It isn’t? In fact it’s emptier than a Blockbuster store? Color me shocked! But hey, she did find the only guy in the universe willing to play “one up” with her as he tells her the story of how his wife was murdered and his daughter was kidnapped. It’s extra hilarious now because, for any sane woman, this would be a prime advertisement as to why she SHOULDN’T see him ever again! “Oh, he had a kid and wife and let some strange man into the house without even questioning it? Sounds trustworthy to me!” Also, nice job looking for your daughter again, dirtbag – truly sitting in this house flirting with some woman you barely know will help!

They even admit they barely know each other, and yet just a few minutes before, the daughter said the mom talks about Holland all the time. Writing is fun!

I’m nearly 1,500 words into this review now and I haven’t even gotten to the fucking plot of this thing yet. This isn’t a long movie, people! It’s 88 minutes!

I’ll just sum up a lot of the next ten or twenty minutes: just these assholes talking and talking about nothing. They have a seemingly endless dinner scene at the woman’s house that honestly makes me feel like I’m stuck in hell. I mean it; it’s agonizing sitting here listening to these fucking idiotic characters spewing dialogue that sounds like it came from the director’s ass. Is there even anything else in the movie? Or is it just an endless stream of fake-cheery dialogue that not even world class actors could make sound convincing? Talking about the characters’ music tastes and love of certain foods doesn’t count as meaningful dialogue!

Thank fuck the killer comes back in again. Holland sure didn’t learn from the last time he let a stranger into the house. It happens again and the same guy comes in and kills the woman! Geez, what bad luck! The daughter gets kidnapped again too. What a coincidence. And in case you were wondering, no; the “Hush little baby” song still isn’t scary. Try again.

Then Holland gets kidnapped by Mr. Hush and locked up in some dirty basement. Why? I’m pretty sure the movie doesn’t even have an idea. The next thing I know, I’m watching the Mr. Hush guy do some ridiculous song and dance about how he has this vendetta against Holland for an unknown reason. In case you were on the edge of your seat wondering, no. The acting has not improved. I know; I was shocked too.

He comes in, makes some vague threats and then leaves...blood curdling terror, really.

We also get introduced to this other character who will make you wish you were deaf, his voice is so annoying. I guess he’s supposed to be the Renfield to Mr. Hush’s Dracula. And if you thought Renfield was annoying in the original Dracula story … well, this character is more annoying. I’m actually fairly sure he was introduced just to punish the audience for some kind of invisible perceived crime. GET HIM OFF SCREEN.

Apparently 'that weird semi-retarded uncle who comes to your parties and hangs out in the corner by himself' is now a valid movie character for your horror film. This guy was in Fright Night like 20 years ago, but I don't really think that's something to be proud of at all...

They bring in the daughter of that woman Holland started seeing, and tie her up too. She still acts like she’s got a gun to her head forcing her to be in this – can’t you at least try, honey? Nobody’s going to make you put this on your resume. The two bad guys also bring in some other chick and chain her to a table. They’re about to cut her open with a chainsaw, when Mr. Hush pulls back and says “Just kidding! What kind of psycho do you think I am?”

Well gee. It’s great to know he has a sense of humor. And great to know he just keeps a chainsaw around for no reason other than to make that joke … why am I even bothering? There was no coherent thought process to this. We then see exactly what kind of psychos these two are, as they then hook an IV up to the unconscious girl and start sucking her blood that way. These guys are the laziest vampires ever. Why not just put it in plastic McDonalds cups and drink it with straws?

WE NEED BLOOD...and we have to tie people down on tables to get it now. Modern vampires are such pussies.

And yeah, I guess THAT’S what they really were this whole fucking time – vampires. I shit you not. Couldn’t have clued us in on that at a more dramatic time, huh? It had to be in this weird, vague manner? And next time, really sit down a second and think: is having your villains make “I Love Lucy” jokes really a good idea? If your answer isn’t “no,” please put down the cocaine and the bottle of Jack Daniel’s. It’s not good for your creative processes.

So get this – the daughter escapes from her binds by using the grease from the chainsaw to slide her hands out of the chains. Which could be possible, but, one – is the chainsaw really that greasy? Is it just like spilling shit all over the place, and close enough for her to get enough to slide out? Two, SHE DOES IT WAY TOO EASILY. It’s like instantaneous! Then she goes over and just snaps his binds like it’s nothing! These two should be starring alongside David Blaine! Modern-day Houdinis, I say!

Then the daughter escapes and runs down the block to the police station, which apparently is just right around the corner from Mr. Hush’s kidnap torture den. Maybe re-think your lair next time, geniuses. She screams a lot, and finally gets them to come with her. Finally, some kind of competence in this whole thing. Although the cameraman’s fumbling around with the camera makes the whole thing kind of come off like he just accidentally dropped the fucking camera and they were almost out of shooting time for the day so they just went with it. But I’ll take what I can get.

The small of her back truly is what we should be focusing on here...

Meanwhile back at the house, Holland comes across a teenage girl sitting in a room upstairs that he eventually figures out is HIS own daughter Amy, who was kidnapped all those years ago. What was Mr. Hush doing with her this whole time? Why didn’t he just kill her too? Never explained! She barely gets any lines in the movie. The movie doesn’t think she's important. Was Mr. Hush just trying to brainwash her as revenge on Holland? Well, apparently, but even THAT explanation is giving the film too much goddamn credit.

It’s pretty much just brushed over like it doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s ONLY the main motivation for our lead character! Who cares about that anyway? Just sweep it under the rug! Focus on more important things. Like blackface Fright Night here:

Heh heh heh – that’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. Who came up with that? It’s just so goofy! That makeup makes it completely impossible to take his whole backstory seriously either. So what, he killed Holland’s grandfather because the grandfather drove over a wooden stick which accidentally impaled Mr. Hush’s girlfriend and killed her? How does that even work? I dunno. What kind of a story is that, anyway? Apparently a good enough one to give more importance over than the actual dramatic (heh heh) conflict of the movie (the missing daughter story). Logic is overrated.

So then a fat black police officer comes in and shouts “Freeze, motherfucker!” It’s not as funny reading it, but watching this guy:

…pointing a gun and shouting “Freeze, motherfucker” at this guy:

…is just about the stupidest, yet most hilarious thing in the whole movie. Whoever came up with that one just redeemed a lot of the torture of the rest of this movie. Good job! So I guess Holland’s daughter stabs Mr. Hush through the heart and kills him. Then they move in with the other lady’s daughter and that fat homeless guy, making for one hell of a sitcom set-up.

Then cancelled after two episodes.

Then the doorbell rings and Holland and both girls let out a huge “NOOOOOOOO!” Because, you know, this movie did for doorbell ringing what Jaws did for sharks.

There’s also a post-credits scene, because the audience was just so blown away by the rest of this movie that we really needed more, right? Some dude walks around in the woods and reveals that he’s actually related to Holland. Which somehow means that Mr. Hush’s minion guy can find him instantly and kill him with a hammer to the face.

Oh go back to the convenience store.

And no, he couldn’t see that hammer coming even though the movie makes it look like the attack came from directly in front of him. I guess he’s got a rare kind of eye cancer that affects his line of sight … no, wait, he’s just a fucking idiot.

This movie was crazy. Pure batshit insanity all the way through. You really can’t even comprehend how bad this movie is until you see it for yourself. In its worst moments it is pure torture, without one redeeming factor – you sit there waiting for something competent to happen and nothing ever does. It’s almost not worth even bitching about since I am really almost positive this was just some kind of home video project that the director blackmailed a studio to actually get a real release out of. The acting, the camerawork, the story – nothing was done well!

But at the same time, there came a certain point when the badness of the entire affair broke through and made way for a wonderful sense of “so bad its good.” There are some pretty hilarious scenes here. A relieving sensation overtakes you as you realize this. And then you will know – that you have been totally lost to the movie. That’s when the men in white coats will come in and cart you away. That, my friends, is the power of Mr. Hush.

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