IMDb Rating: N/A NO RATINGS AS YET
TV-MA 1h 59min Drama, Horror 29 Apr 2021 (Australia) Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57% Rotten (Critics)
Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Writers: Shari Springer Berman, Elizabeth Brundage, Robert Pulcini
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, James Norton, Rhea Seehorn
IMDb summary: An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history.
PLEASE BE AWARE BEFORE YOU READ ON WE ARE NOT SPOILER-FREE. THANK YOU.
THINGS HEARD AND SEEN REVIEW
Looking for something good to sink your claws (and your time) into will be a tough call this week, with Things Heard and Seen having a mediocre release on Netflix. As the official ratings are barely even in for this flick, we’re still betting that Netflix viewers will find something in this film to enjoy. This is also one reason why Things Heard and Seen is going to miss its target audience completely.
Horror doesn’t really need a good story to fall back on to be good entertainment. Case in point: there are dozens of films like this (the many iterations of Halloween come to mind) that still manage to move the audiences into liking something about them. But that’s because it’s easy. You already know (more or less) what’s going to happen (there will always be a final girl, and that’s usually Jamie Lee Curtis), and Michael just can’t cut a break no matter how many times he tries. People expect this, so there is a level of certainty for the audience. But with a film like Things Heard and Seen, it’s completely on its own and needs to find its audience first. To do that, you need to define who your audience is going to be, and that is where this film falls over head-first.
This is not a ghost story, although you’d be hard-pressed not to think that. In fact, this film is more about the relationship between Catherine Claire (Amanda Seyfried) and her horrible husband George, played wonderfully by James Norton. At first, it’s a slow burn – we are introduced to the Claire’s who appears to be a happy couple. But as the film progresses, we begin to see just how fragile and broken their relationship is.
The catalyst for their relationship’s demise gains momentum once they settle into their new home. George has been offered a job he can’t turn his back on. Having to move from one part of the U.S. to the more rural area of Hudson, Claire (who restores art for a living) makes the sacrifice willingly for her husband, and they pack up and move to Hudson with their daughter.
The movie really doesn’t begin to get interesting until about halfway through when Catherine begins to notice strange things occurring in the house, such as things being moved without anyone there, doors being closed when she’s home alone. Atmospherically, it’s pretty well-made, and there are a few jump scares to be had as well. But none of this has anything to do with the issues that face Catherine and George – at least not on the surface. And this is where the film takes a very different turn. On the one hand, we have a haunted house, and on the other, a family in turmoil. The film is fragmented, with too many moving pieces to have any real impact. The most exciting part is watching everything between George and Catherine fall apart. So at its core, this film is not a ghost story or even a scary movie.
We won’t give away too much about the other part of the story (the supernatural bits) because that’s interesting. The problem is it finishes before it can really start and then things become cluttered in an almost annoying way. The final act is the biggest letdown. It’s so predictable; you’ll be shaking your head with disappointment. But despite a shaky storyline, the acting is strong, with Amanda Seyfried and James Norton portraying their characters believably.
Check out the trailer on YouTube: