Hush vs Don’t Breathe

As the Geeked Gods crew has discussed before {Link to 2016 Year End Podcast} 2016 was actually a pretty awesome year for horror. This year was so awesome in...

As the Geeked Gods crew has discussed before {Link to 2016 Year End Podcast} 2016 was actually a pretty awesome year for horror. This year was so awesome in fact that at least two of the movies borrowed similar themes from one another.


Don’t Breathe was one of the summer’s surprise hits and was received positively by both critics (87% Rotten Tomatoes/ 71% on Metacritic) and audiences (it grossed 153 Million dollars against a 10 million dollar budget). The film held it’s own for weeks against big budget behemoths like Suicide Squad, Sausage Party and War Dogs.


Don’t Breathe, directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead- 2013), follows a group of thieves determined to escape their lives of poverty in Detroit by stealing from their wealthy neighbors. They find a seemingly perfect target in the form of a blind shut-in sitting on a multi-million dollar civil settlement. Once the gang breaks in they find that the old man is a greater danger to them than they are to him.

no-respires-stephen-lang dbreathe-7





Hush was a comparatively smaller film (premiered at South by Southwest, distributed by Netflix) but received overwhelmingly positive reviews  (100% on Rotten Tomatoes, 67% on Metacritic) including praise from masters of horror Stephen King and William Friedkin.


In this film, a psychopath terrorizes a deaf writer who lives alone in a remote cabin for seemingly no reason at all. Her mettle is tested as she battles her personal demons and fights to keep the killer at bay.


While the two movies seem similar on the surface, with themes of home invasion that target a victim with a disability. But delving deeper into to meat of these stories show stark differences that make them almost incomparable.


Don’t breathe tells the story focusing on Rocky, one of the gang members breaking into The Blind Man’s house. The audience is made to feel sympathy for her- as she is in the business of burglary for the sole purpose of creating a better life for her sister. As the story unfolds Rocky sees herself become the victim as the Blind Man is revealed to be a vicious psychopath, turning her attempt at theft into a battle for survival. The movie aims to keep viewers locked in by flipping the script several times, which works really well for the first 2/3 but eventually drags out to an unsatisfying conclusion.


On the other hand Hush offers an incredibly straightforward plot with excellent surreal elements. This is your basic fight for survival with the added twist that Maddie (the protagonist) is hearing impaired (something which she eventually uses to her advantage). Another unique element of the film is that the audience is taken into Maddie’s mind’s eye, with several detours into imagined scenarios for how her harrowing experience might play out.


It’s hard to say which film is better due to their stark differences in both tone and story despite the fact that they share some similarities. If I had to pick I’d say that I think that Hush was the better of the two based solely of the fact that if I had to pick, I’d rather be deaf than blind. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a nerd-boner for B-Movie plots that flesh out more interesting stories, like the horror equivalent of the cult classic Dredd. If you have the time and the money please go see both and decide for yourself.

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