Hush Review: Little Chefs = Terrifying

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

HUSH: On general release from Friday 13th March 2009

Like last year’s Eden Lake, Mark Tonderai’s first feature film is a tense, brutal and resolutely British film that’s all too easy to imagine happening in real life.

Zakes and Beth (Will Ash and Christine Bottomley) are a young couple driving along the M1 at night, and as coupley car journeys tend to go, they soon begin arguing. When Zakes sees a glimpse of a screaming woman in the back of a truck he calls the police but, deciding that he can’t do anything more to help, he turns off at a service station to start his shift as a poster-putter-upper.

Apparently the minor mistake of ‘not helping potential murder victims’ is the metaphorical straw to break the camel’s back and Beth storms off in a huff. Zakes then spots a familiar white truck in the car park and begins to panic that she too has been abducted.

What follows is a cat and camel game (gettit? Anyone? Beth’s the camel? Don’t know why I bother…) where Zakes searches for Beth and tries to avoid capture in an hour and a half of edge-of-your-seat suspense and a film that is far darker than first imagined.

All too often we’re faced with situations where we could walk away instead of doing something and this moral tug-of-war is key to the film. It’s not hard to see yourself in Zakes’s position, but it’s this inability to do something earlier, this desire not to get involved which gets him in trouble in the first place.

Tonderai does a great job of keeping the tensions high: we’re treated to grim, atmospheric rain-slicked shots where all you can hear is Zakes’s breathing as he strives to stay hidden just long enough to get away. Like all good horror films, it’s easy to confuse your own heart beat with that of the characters’ as they avoid the killer.

It’s when the film keeps to the plausible that it’s at its most terrifying; when you’re left thinking, “That could be me- that could really happen!” But it’s much more brutal than is necessary and this actually detracts from the tension of the movie, unintentionally make you giggle along at some of the sickest, most ludicrous moments. This, coupled with dialogue which can seem stilted and scripted, serves to undermine the immersion in what could have been a great film.

Despite these minor shortcomings, it’s a gripping movie and admirable for a first time director. Who knew Little Chef’s could ever have been made more terrifying then they already are?

Next time you’re out driving on the motorway and you start to get the munchies you’ll probably glance a bit more closely at the white trucks driving past you before turning off for a pit stop.

Jez Sands

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