We have been big fans of Oculus director Mike Flanagan since he released his underrated indie horror gem Absentia back in 2011, so it goes without saying that we were quite excited to check out his latest film, Hush (review), which recently premiered to a strong audience and critical response at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival and comes to Netflix on April 8th.
A joint production from Blumhouse and Intrepid Pictures, Hush follows a deaf-mute author named Maddie (Kate Siegel, who also co-wrote the script) as she is stalked by a crazed killer in her isolated woodland home on an unsuspecting evening. Complete with Flanagan’s signature thrills and a fantastic performance from Siegel, Hush is certain to find a strong streaming audience as it descends upon home viewers this week.
Following the film’s big screen premiere at SXSW, I had a chance to chat with newlyweds Flanagan and Siegel, as well as producer Trevor Macy. We discussed the inspiration for Hush, the highs and lows of making low-budget horror, and our own favorite Netflix genre gems.
On top of all that, Flanagan also dished some exclusive details to Dread Central about two of his upcoming high-profile projects: Ouija 2 and the remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer! You can check out the highlights from our chat and view the trailer for Hush below.
On the origins of Hush…
While many script ideas can often stew in a writer’s head for months to years before anything fully comes together, Flanagan and Siegel notably — and excitedly — came up for the complete concept for Hush during an evening out.
Siegel recounts of the night the story was born: “The idea came from a dinner that Mike and I had together where we — as we do — sit around and talk about movies we like, old movies we like, movies we want to see more of. We both touched on [Terence Young’s] Wait Until Dark, which is one of our favorites, and that spurred the kind of movies we wanted to make, which were these basic premises with […] some heightened element. Mike has talked about wanting to make a movie without dialogue [and] I have always been interested in the home invasion genre. […] From there, were were like, ‘Well, what if we put those two things together… what happens?’ And then we just — eh, glass of wine, talking about this and that, and by the time they served dessert, we had our pitch!”
It’s worth noting that Hush’s protagonist Maddie isn’t all victim in the film, having more than a few ass-kicking moments of her own. “I always thought of Maddie as an action hero more than as a final girl,” Siegel says of her commanding character. “I’m always looking to be more like Ripley in my day to day life!” Without missing a beat, Flanagan, Macy, and myself all vocally agreed with this sentiment.
On the fast-paced production of the film…
Despite the rapid emergence of the film’s story between its writers, neither Flanagan nor Siegel expected the film to jump into production as quickly as it did. “I think we didn’t expect it to move as quickly as it did. […] As we were joking about it being such a challenge, we were like, well, let’s write it and see what happens,” recalls Siegel. “The support of Trevor [Macy, of Intrepid Pictures] and Jason [Blum, of Blumhouse Productions] was so immediate and strong, we found ourselves quickly in a circumstance where we had to deliver on [the] idea that we had.”
On collaborating as a couple…
Though newlyweds Siegel and Flanagan previously worked together on Oculus, Hush notably demanded more physical strain on the actress. When asked what it was like working in a high-pressure setting under her husband’s direction, however, Siegel recalls the fondest memories of the experience. “I was so grateful for Mike in the process of making this movie from the very beginning,” she expresses. “This is my first script [and] this is my first leading role in a bigger film. This was my first time going through this whole wilderness and Mike was always there — professionally supportive and relationship supportive — and I just felt like I had such a safety net in order to explore the writer and actress I wanted to be.”
Siegel recalls the first time she met Flanagan while auditioning for another of his films, noting the director’s attentiveness to actors as he let them have as many takes as they needed even in the audition room. “The idea that at the audition level a director cared so much about the script and about an actor… I was like, ‘This is a man that I would do anything to work with,’” she lauds. “That attitude towards storytelling and filmmaking has always been part of Mike’s process and that’s happened in Hush. […] That supportive filmmaking is very rare — so I married him!”
On the Netflix platform and why Hush is best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home…
“I can’t think of a better way to watch this film than alone in your house at night,” Siegel says of Netflix’s acquisition of streaming rights for Hush.
When asked what their favorite recent Netflix horror find is, Siegel quickly chimes in: “We found a gem the other week — we found Killer Mermaid!”
April 6, 2016
by Ari Drew