March 23, 1998 12:00 PM

Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow

If only this botched mess had heeded its own title. As is, the releasing studio, TriStar Pictures, knew enough not to prescreen for critics this dingbat tale of mother love gone berserk. The studio had good reason. Despite its big-name leading ladies, Hush stinks worse than a hot car trunk filled with aging provolone. Lange, in what can only be called the Faye Dunaway role, plays a widowed mom intent on keeping her adult son (Johnathon Schaech, a dim bulb here) on the family horse farm in Kentucky—even if it means doing away with her daughter-in-law (Paltrow). Cluelessly directed by first-timer Jonathan Darby, Hush wants to be both a psychological thriller and a horror film, though it lacks the smarts for the former and the bloody-ax excesses of the latter. (PG-13)

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