He handcuffed a stranded woman to a bed with little mercy; orchestrated a complex, breathlessly spooky haunted house story; and soon, hell bring Danny Torrance back to the screen – Mike Flanagan is no joke.
The horror directors vision of Shirley Jacksons The Haunting of Hill House took artistic liberties, but to extraordinary effect – crafting a contemporary old-school fright-fest with disquieting, traumatic ideas that cut deeper than the many, many bumps in the night.
Theres a common thread through Flanagans work: our humanity-bred fear of the dark.
Check out the trailer for Hush below:
While his name has ascended into high-profile entertainment stardom, – especially with his upcoming film; Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen Kings sequel to The Shining – one only needs to glance back to 2016 to see Flanagans investment in the horror game.
Hush dropped on Netflix three years ago, and its still recognised as a brilliant, definitively scary slasher. Rather than the hammy theatrics of Crystal Lakes resident machete-wielding, hockey mask-wearing killer, Flanagan strips the genre down to its most primal metaphor: cat and mouse.
Except, theres a devilish twist: the story revolves around a deaf and mute writer who has to fight for her life in an isolated, woodland home when a masked killer appears at her window.
Its a film that specialises in the kind of terror that eats away at your sanity; something Flanagan says is very intentional. The horror director says that the modern trend of jump scares equalling horror only serves to harm the genre.
In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Flanagan said:
Audiences have grown to equate being startled with being scared, and will complain that a movie isnt scary enough if it doesnt have enough jump scares… so that means that a lot of studios will insist on shoving jump scares into a movie, regardless of character or story structure, thinking it makes it scarier.
This fundamental miscommunication between the audience and the studios has resulted in a very unfortunate trend in horror, in my opinion.