Road to hell…
Bit part actor, sometime screenwriter and former Radio 1 DJ Mark Tonderai makes his directorial debut with the small but well-formed British thriller Hush, which makes a routine trip on the M1 even more hellish than usual. Tonderai also wrote the film, which sees wannabe-writer Zakes (William Ash) and his girlfriend Beth (Christine Bottomley) passing their long night-time journey by arguing about the state of their relationship.
Their bickering is forgotten, however, when Zakes spots that the rear panel of a truck in front of them is open – and there is a naked, chained woman inside. The pair phone the police and stop at a service station for a restorative coffee, still fighting about whether they have done enough to help. After Beth storms off, Zakes waits for her in the car – only to make the horrifying discovery that this nightmare has just turned personal, and that his fate will be decided before the sun comes up…
Hush’s initial strength lies in it’s ‘horror of the normal’ aesthetic; under DoP Philipp Blaubach’s shadowy camera everyday locations – motorways, slip-roads, service stations – become menacing places where there is considerably more evil lurking than just a £5 cup of weak coffee. This creepy atmosphere permeates the whole film, and believable leading man Ash fits well within it, playing Zakes with a mixture of cocky disbelief, resolute responsibility and genuine terror as he realises exactly what he’s stumbled into.
And as the story plays out, with some interesting, twists and turns along the way, there are moments that require maximum suspension of disbelief, as Zakes makes one wild decision after another. But the fast-paced editing, emotive score and genuinely scary look at the UK’s secret underbelly keep the story moving forward at a breathless pace, and Hush becomes a tight little thriller that waves the flag for British horror. 4 stars
Tonderai provides a commentary, plus there’s interviews, deleted scenes and making of featurettes. 3 stars
Stars William Ash, Christine Bottomley
Director Mark Tonderai
Distributor Optimum Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released July 20