Friday, February 13, 2009

You'll do as I tell you, and if I tell you to lie you'll do that too...

Screw Valentine's Day; the most interesting "holiday" this weekend was today, Friday the 13th. Since I'm not home to go see Rocky Horror and have no interest in viewing the latest slasher-movie remake, I thought I'd celebrate by finally posting something about the only horror movie I've seen lately that's actually earned the label.

A lot of movies try to create suspense by using plot twists to keep the audience on its toes. Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte is one of the few movies I've seen use that technique successfully. Not only did this movie keep me guessing; it managed to do so in a way where everything still made perfect sense by the end of the film. Director Robert Aldrich strikes the right balance between presenting questions, leading the audience astray, and providing clues to the right answers anyway. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to correctly guess how the story is going to play out, but these hints are so obfuscated by the madness entrenched in that old Southern house that I jumped from theory to theory several times before having my suspicions confirmed -- and there were parts of the solution that I never saw coming.

Even the movie's unusual opening credit sequence brings the creepy. There's something about Bette Davis standing alone on a black screen, looking utterly devastated and vulnerable yet completely out of context, that's more than a little grotesque. It sets the tone beautifully for the rest of the movie.

Hush... Hush is all at once a psychological thriller, a classic horror flick, and a whodunnit mystery that's consistently one step ahead of its audience. It's not a movie to watch while half-asleep on the couch; if the all-star cast doesn't command your attention, the intricate plot certainly will.


  1. I completely forgot that it was Friday the 13th until I saw your post. Luckily it's now after 12am, so I can safely say I made it through the day without terrible bad luck. I recorded Hush Hush last week, and now I'm very eager to go watch it! I haven't seen it yet... very anxious now :)

  2. And we get two Friday the 13ths! There is one next month too.

    I agree with you that this movie keeps audience in suspense and keeps us guessing. We think we know what's going on, but really we don't. I saw this film at a movie theater (late-night showing) and I was constantly shifting in my seat!

  3. Kate Gabrielle - Glad you made it through the day all right. ;) Honestly I forgot about the bad luck part for a while and just thought Friday the 13th was like Halloween without the costumes and candy. Let me know how you like Hush... Hush!

    Raquelle - I'd love to see this in a theater. I watched it alone in my apartment, which was kind of creepy but probably not nearly as fun.

  4. I think I'd like to check this one out. You wrote a simply marvelous review.

  5. Thank you! Definitely see it if you have the chance.