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Things Heard and Seen

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Things Heard and Seen
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More like Things Heard and Never Worth Seeing.
Genre: Drama
Horror
Suspense
Directed By: Shari Springer Berman
Produced By: Stefanie Azpiazu
Anthony Bregman
Julie Cohen
Peter Cron
Written By: Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Based On: All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
Starring: Amanda Seyfried
James Norton
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Larry Smith
Distributed By: Netflix
Release Date: April 29, 2021
Runtime: 117 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English


Things Heard and Seen is a 2021 American horror-thriller film written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, based on the novel All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage. It stars Amanda Seyfried and James Norton. It was released on April 29, 2021, by Netflix, and received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and was unanimously panned by the fans of the book.

Plot

Catherine Clare reluctantly trades life in 1980 Manhattan for a remote home in the tiny hamlet of Chosen, New York, after her husband George lands a job teaching art history at a small Hudson Valley college. Even as she does her best to transform the old dairy farm into a place where young daughter Franny will be happy, Catherine increasingly finds herself isolated and alone. She soon comes to sense sinister darkness lurking both in the walls of the ramshackle property—and in her marriage to George.

Why It Does Not Deserve To Be Seen

  1. For the main problem with this movie, it's mostly reliant on pointless exposition. This may not be a bad thing, but it's literally just people talking and talking with no emotion, if you do turn your brain off for just one second, it's really hard to process and understand what the story really is about, or audiences having really high chances of getting bored and not caring before something even happens in the film.
    • No part of the characters' motivations are never explored until one of them tells it straight to the audience.
    • Even if you do take out most of the meaningless exposition, it still feels like another generic thriller film with nothing new to add to the idea.
  2. It can't decide on what identity it wants to have, whether is it about a married couple with a toxic relationship, murder mystery in the house, or something like that.
  3. An interesting concept about a house being haunted by an abusive man and his abused wife seeking help from the living has become really wasted and mundane as the movie goes on.
  4. Abysmal pacing. The runtime may be under 2 hours long, but the film feels unnecessarily longer than it should have.
    • This problem could've been solved if it were translated as a TV series instead, because the book has more nuance and depth to any of the questions in the film, rather than it being crammed in 2 hours.
  5. It didn't even try to be subtle. It attempts to be taken seriously, but with the dialogue just literally explaining what the plot actually is with no substance, it sounded like it was treating the audience like idiots that can't remember a minor detail. And to add insult to injury, they repeat the same dialogue and details once or twice.
    • It's more obsessed with telling instead of showing, like how George had major respect for his late cousin before stealing his artworks, or him preying on young girls (While it was shown he did have a temporary affair with a random girl, but it's just one person, which doesn't have that much proof that he's a predator), yet the film show little to nothing of these scenes being present.
  6. Almost nothing interesting happens in the movie.
  7. Dull acting. Like the actors sound really bored with the material they were given with.
  8. Filler and pointless scenes that don't help the film's plot at all. With George finding his daughter had an accident then brings her to the hospital, or Catherine having an affair with one of her new neighbors, and the film just forgets both of those scenes exists.
  9. Cliched and underdeveloped characters that aren't even worth investing to:
    • Catherine Claire is a generic wife that is oblivious of her husband's true self.
      • Catherine is also a massive idiot. She thinks it's alright to confront her husband who gave away a lot of red flags. (See plot holes below)
    • George Claire is an unlikable, manipulative, and two-timing husband (who is easily the worst character in the film) that do to get what he wants, preying on women, and steals his late cousin's artworks to become respected. Not to mention, it's shown he's also an unsympathetic coward by the end of the movie.
      • His characterization seems like a dollar store version of Patrick Bateman's jealous and misogynistic personality from American Psycho, Hannibal Lecter's manipulative charisma from Silence of the Lambs, or Jack Torrence's obsessions from The Shining.
    • Justine and other side characters are treated as plot devices than actual characters.
  10. Most of the dialogue is just characters explaining the plot.
  11. The plot point dedicating to George killing the ship captain happens off-screen, which was never explored. It just ended and the film expects audiences to just forget about it.
  12. Cheap cinematography.
  13. Aside from the story being about George's personality going downhill into a dark path being foreshadowing, it's still very predictable.
  14. Unanswered plot holes:
    • What made George into killing the ship captain?
    • Why was Catherine hallucinating about the aborted fetus in the kitchen sink? Was it something about her sickness?
    • George seeing a dark ocean wallpaper who thought it was a prank, but no student seems to be laughing. Was it a subtle metaphor that he is the next abusive husband in the haunted house? The movie never explored this.
    • Why didn't Catherine and her child leave George before he even came home? She had the chance to leave, so why bother waiting for him to come home? It's also very dumb of her to confront George before she even tried to leave and explain where she and her child are going, then that's what got her killed in the end.
  15. Stupid Ending: After George has killed Catherine, and being released after lying to the police, he later reads the letter that Justine is still alive after the car crash, George sets sail into the ocean running away to be never heard and seen again.
  16. After all the events that partake throughout the entire movie, almost nothing seems to be resolved by the end.

Videos

Reception

Things Heard and Seen holds an approval rating of 39% based on 85 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "The terrors in Things Heard & Seen are overwhelmed by a banal and uninspired adaptation that fails to connect to its haunting source material." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

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