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  Hush The Chase
Year: 2009
Director: Mark Tonderai
Stars: William Ash, Christine Bottomley, Andreas Wisniewski, Claire Keenan, Stuart McQuarrie, Robbie Gee, Peter Wyatt, Sheila Reid, Shaun Dingwall, Rupert Procter, Carol Allen, Harry Mondryk
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Zakes Abbott (William Ash) is driving up the M1 motorway tonight where he has a job replacing posters in the service stations dotted along the side of the road. His girlfriend Beth (Christine Bottomley) is accompanying him, currently trying to catch up on some sleep in the passenger seat, but soon she wakes and he offers her the biscuit he has saved for her. However, this politeness is masking the fact that their relationship is in trouble, and they are arguing once more; what Beth is not telling him is that she has slept with someone else and is thinking of breaking it off with him...

Sounds like the beginning of one of those soap opera-ish dramas, doesn't it? If you didn't know better, that is, for this was writer and director Mark Tonderai's horror-inflected thriller which took the Northern highways as its setting, enhanced for full sinister effect by taking place entirely at night. Tonderai first came to public attention not as a filmmaker, but as a Radio 1 disc jockey, except that his genuinely funny late night show was hidden away in the early hours of Monday morning, meaning that most listeners would hear the first ten minutes before nodding off to sleep, not the best way to raise the profile of a talented chap.

Tonderai obviously felt some affinity with the night time, because the late night atmosphere, at the point where you start to feel drowsy but know that if, for example, you're driving along the motorway, you should really stay awake, is keenly depicted here. Hush was one of those films where it was probably better not to know too much about what was going to happen before you sat down to watch it, because a lot of the suspense depended on being unaware of what was around the corner - literally, in some cases. The opening ten minutes of set up did come across as stilted, because there was a fair amount of establishing of the main characters' bond, or lack of it, to get through.

However, it was all necessary as Zakes goes on to prove himself worthy of Beth throughout the course of the plot, and more importantly that he does not mind so much that she has cheated on him because something more vital arises that makes them realise how much they mean to each other. If the script had it that Zakes was trying to save a woman he did not know, which in a way he is, then that connection would not have been there, and indeed he would probably have been content to telephone the police and let them handle the suspicious incident he witnesses while driving as Beth is snoozing in the seat beside him. What does he see? He's not one hundred percent sure himself.

What it looked like, and bear in mind that he's been stressed by yet another argument, was a young woman naked and screaming in the back of the truck that nearly crashed into him, and it's Beth's goading that persuades him to spring into action. Ash does a pretty good job of portraying a shlubby, ordinary bloke suddenly having to demonstrate that he is as capable as he always wanted to be. Not that he does not suffer in the process, whether getting his hands nailed to a wooden floor or being arrested on suspicion of murder and finding a way to escape those plastic handcuffs (lucky they weren't metal ones, eh?), and filling the role of a Hitchcockian innocent man on the run while on a mission. Hush doesn't hang about, and is sharply edited so that it seems even faster, presenting a pacy, unpretentious thriller which rewarded modestly but admirably. Music by Theo Green.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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