Jesus and I recently watched two new horror movies on Netflix, Visions and Hush. They're fundamentally different (spirits/hauntings versus stalkers/killers), yet strikingly similar (women as lead characters, emphasis on certain senses). Let's break them down even further.
Leading Ladies: Isla Fischer takes the helm in Visions, playing the pregnant co-owner of a rundown vineyard who starts seeing things on her property. Are her unnerving visions Mommy Senses, or PTSD from a car accident a year earlier? In Hush, Kate Seigel plays Maddie, a deaf-mute author who lives in relative isolation as she works on her second novel. When a killer shows up at her door, it's her quick thinking versus the killer's natural upper hand. Seigel herself also co-wrote the screenplay, making Hush winner of this round.
Star Power: Visions has the clear upper hand and sweeps this category. With Isla Fischer, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Parsons, Joanna Cassidy, and brief appearances by Eva Longoria, Visions is stocked with household names and familiar faces. Hush has only five on-screen characters, one of whom we literally only see on a computer screen, and they're relative newcomers compared to the cast of Visions.
Plot: It's paranormal sightings versus masked killer - this one is a draw, and really comes down to personal preference. I've seen paranormal done very well, though masked killer gets right to it with the fear factor.
Soundtrack/Sound Effects: This one goes to Hush, with it's emphasis on sound effects - and who can hear them. The viewer's experience of sound changes based on each character's perspective in a way that only adds to the drama and suspense.
Jump Scare Factor: Speaking of drama and suspense, both movies give viewers several jump scares, a few more agonizing moments of wondering what's about to happen, and plenty of reasons to hold onto someone's hand (or entire body) while watching. In the end, Hush ekes past Visions with its "this could happen in real life" scenarios and silent tension building.
Reception: Hush has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to Visions's 15%. That is all.
It's obvious that in a battle between these two recent movies, Hush comes out the victor. Visions tries - and an interesting twist at the end redeems some of the lackluster acting, but in the end it's the minimalist slasher film over the eerie apparitions.