Welcome back to my “Tales from the Darkside” Marathon! Inventions gone awry is a staple in mad scientist stories. Even if they’re made with good intentions, something usually goes wrong to make them cause chaos. Today’s tale is about such an invention courtesy of a well-meaning little boy. This is “Hush.”
Jennifer is called over to babysit Beth Warren’s son, Buddy. Buddy is a tinkerer and has taken a shine to building things in his dad’s workshop. His latest little invention is a noise eater which can make stuff like noisy toys go quiet by clamping down on them. However, the noise eater ends up destroying its remote control, and Jennifer and Buddy quickly discover that doesn’t make things quiet but actually the energy out of them instead. And unless they keep quiet, they’ll be next. Will they survive the night, or will the machine win in the end?
This episode had the right idea but not enough of a budget to quite pull it off. The dialogue here is fine, but once the plot really kicks off, it mostly becomes a slow game of hide and seek. The only way Jennifer and Buddy are able to fend the noise eater off is by continuously causing distractions so Jennifer can damage its motor enough. This does make the episode a slow burn, though it at least tries to set up a creepy atmosphere with it.
As characters, Jennifer and Buddy were your typical teenage girl and kid respectfully. While I can’t stand the stereotype of the babysitter chatting on the phone, it only happens once here and isn’t lingered on for too long. Jennifer is protective once the situation calls for it, though I did call into question why she only stood around and watched as the noise eater later attacks Beth. You know, instead of attacking it like they planned she would. Buddy doesn’t get to do much once the episode becomes all about their survival, and he has an annoying cough that plays into their distractions more than once. Aside from that, I thought the child actor wasn’t too bad.
The weirdest thing about this episode is that there’s literally no twist. The ending is abrupt and straightforward. However, that wasn’t an issue for me. My biggest gripe of the entire episode is that the noise eater just isn’t scary. Sure, it’s supposed to LOOK scary with its round, teeth-filled style mouth, but it’s basically a mini-vacuum with an alien/worm-like mouth on the end. Given a higher budget and more resources, it could have worked with the energy-sucking idea, but I just couldn’t take it seriously enough to feel it was a threat. They do try their best to show its potential by having it kill both Beth and her pet bird, but it didn’t quite work for me.
Honestly, I wish the noise eater wasn’t in “Hush.” If they had chosen to make it a creature or alien, chances are it would have been a lot scarier. However, it brings down what was otherwise an interesting idea. The acting’s fine and the characters are decent if unmemorable, and there is a tinge of atmosphere here. But it’s hard to take your main threat seriously when it looks like I could clean my house with it. I’d say this one could be skipped.