A young couple on a motorway journey are drawn into a game of cat and mouse with a truck driver following a near accident
It isnâ€™t something I am used to when I am made a bit uncomfortable by dialogue in a film. It is an even rarer one when this happens within the first few minutes of the film. â€śHushâ€ť manages to do this straight out of the gate and never lets up with anything, tension included.
First time director Mark Tonderai doesnâ€™t waste any time getting the show on the road and I had a great time being along for the ride. The film is fast paced, interesting, intense, and at times, unsettling. With a strong cast and tight filmmaking, â€śHushâ€ť is something worth viewing. Zakes (William Ash) and Beth (Christine Bottomley) are a young couple on the road while he works changing advertisements and rest stops. Things grow tense between the couple and it is painfully apparent they are growing apart. While on the expressway, they are overtaken by a truck whose cargo door opens only for Zakes to see a caged woman screaming for help, but only for a split second. They do nothing but call the police. At a rest stop, Beth comes up missing and Zakes tries to find her. He has no help and no one to trust, he ventures out onto the road, following the truck with twists and turns around every corner. This is the basic premise of the film and I want to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. Spoilers will ruin the viewing experience and I will refrain.
The film opens with the couple on the road and quickly shows us where they are at and how things have deteriorated between them. It happens quickly and things get intense, but always stayed believable. There are some strong messages hidden throughout the film and all of them make you think. Especially when you take for granted the one you love only to have them taken from under your nose. Zakes chooses to stop at nothing to find her, following the truck everywhere it goes. William Ash turns in a very strong performance and one of the main reasons this film works so well. After Beth comes up missing, itâ€™s up Ash make Zakes someone we care about and we do. There were a couple of twists within the film I didnâ€™t see coming. During the second half of the film, dialogue takes a back seat to action and Ash is able to carry that weight and drag us into his nightmare.
The story, the script was also by Tonderai, is filled with strong characters and enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. I watched the film in my living room reclined in my favorite chair. At one point I actually found myself sitting on the edge of my seat. This is unheard of in my house and is a testament to the intentionally fast paced action and mystery this film offers. That isnâ€™t to say that it doesnâ€™t have its faults. There is a hint of predictability in the overall nature of the story as well as some annoying decisions made by some of the characters. The ending was a bit cut and dry but not ridiculous enough to ruin the film.
â€śHushâ€ť is a very good film, tight where it should be and highly entertaining. Tonderai has a talent for building tension when needed and the pace of the film reminded me a lot of â€śHaute Tensionâ€ť with how quickly the festivities move along and draw you in. The resolution felt a bit rushed to me and I was interested in why the women are being kidnapped. Itâ€™s in there, just thought it was interesting and was hoping to learn a bit more about it. The cast is strong, especially William Ash, who carried this film to a height that may not have been attainable with a different actor in the lead. Mark Tonderai has taken a stale premise and was able to breathe life and tension into it and giving us a leading man we can cheer for even if he is flawed. â€śHushâ€ť is a damn good film, check it out.