Things Heard & Seen (2021) – Movie Review

Last Updated on December 18, 2022

PLOT: A professor and his artistic wife move to a new home in a small town only to realize that things aren’t quite what they seem.

LOWDOWN: Things Heard & Seen (WATCH IT HERE) is an odd beast to review. Essentially a family drama with a pinch of horror advertised as one thing yet, in actuality, something entirely different. Once this finished, I had the same feeling as when I drank a bit too much and woke up in the middle of the night, dazed and confused. So tag along as I do my best to give you a clear idea of what you’re getting into here.

Things Heard & Seen is based on the book All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. Now I have never read the book, and besides the vague synopsis, I am entirely in the dark. How faithful or not this is isn’t something I can comment on with any confidence. Sorry folks, but you’re not here for a novel-to-film comparison, so let’s jump into it. Things Heard & Seen follows Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) and George Claire (James Norton) as their marriage deteriorates to a dark and unforgiving level. All of it is set around themes of jealousy, gaslighting, and a somewhat haunted house where the ghost is surprisingly unintrusive. A polite spirit would be the best-case scenario.

The cast involved here has some serious talent behind them, and in terms of acting and screen presence, Things Heard & Seen has a few dramatic moments that felt like a solid elbow to the gut, yet this was packaged and sold as a haunted house flick and the distress it has on our main couple. Catherine starts to lose it from isolation on top of the stress of her crumbling marriage. To make matters worse, she thinks a ghost may be living with her and her family. But when it comes to the creepy old house and the benevolent spirit, all of it becomes a faint backdrop as Things Heard & Seen is a family drama almost entirely. The story deals with Amanda Seyfried’s character and how she has married a narcissist that could give a sh*t less about her as he focuses more on his blooming career and the little cutie Willis (Natalia Dyer) with who he’s having a fling with.

Amanda Seyfried pops out above the rest with her moody and paranoid performance. Seyfried gives Catherine an emotional weight that may be too good for the film at hand, and the drama between Catherine and George is fine for what it is. He’s a gaslighting douchebag, while she’s the helpless victim until she isn’t, but nothing here makes this an exceptional drama or is unique enough to warrant the genre bait-and-switch. I found the first two-thirds serviceable, but when the scares are non-existent and the tragic family drama is by the numbers, what are we left with? Things Heard & Seen is just a standard drama that isn’t breaking any new ground and, besides some solid performances, is a bit of a bore when it’s all said and done. The horror is watered down, kinda like when you get a Jack and Coke from the Congress Theater, and they measure that sh*t out to the last drop. God forbid you get any extra. This flick does just that. We get just enough horror to label it as so.

GORE: We get one bloody scene with an ax, but Things Heard & Seen focuses on emotion over graphic violence.

BOTTOM LINE: Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini give this a distinct and somber visual style. They can pull some great performances from top-notch actors like Seyfried, Norton, and the great F. Murray Abraham, but I still need to figure out if there is an agreement on what Things Heard & Seen wants to be. The supernatural stuff is so few and far between it almost feels like the studio added it into a finished script (it wasn’t), and so nothing works as it should. There are some deep themes and a timely message that may work for some, as the marriage drama is the real focus, but in the end, things just felt stale. This movie isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination; it just doesn’t do anything that sticks out as great or exciting. Things Heard & Seen is… fine. Just fine, and for a weekend flick that you can toss on in a pinch, it may find an audience; just be warned, it is not as advertised.

 Things Heard & Seen Releases on Netflix on April 29th, 2021




Source: Arrow in the Head

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