An artist moves to the suburbs with her family after her husband lands a new teaching job. Their new home was built in the 1800s and has a tragic history, however this information is withheld from her. But the house’s warped past is only a small part of the many secrets her husband is hiding from her. That’s the plot of the 2021 horror/thriller film ‘Things Heard & Seen’ directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. It’s based on a book by Elizabath Brundage called ‘All Things Cease To Appear’.
Amanda Seyfreid perfectly plays Catherine Claire, an artist who is struggling with an eating disorder. She puts her career on the back-foot for husband George (James Norton), who turns out to be an evil scumbag. Although Catherine’s mom feels like she should be grateful, because George “did her right” by marrying her, after he had knocked her up. Catholic girls need to start using contraceptives so they won’t have to thank a**holes anymore for getting them pregnant. They would have been saved a whole lot of misery. Anyway, back to the movie – so George Claire is an evil piece of shit and their family life is completely shaken up due to a series of bad decisions on his part. Add some ghosts to the mix and things get chaotic.
Not sure about how the novel is, but if the makers of the film could’ve steered clear from the ‘horror’ territory and kept this one strictly in the ‘thriller’ realm, it would have been a MUCH BETTER movie. There is enough meat in the plot to make it a good crime thriller; the stereotypical ghosts in old clothes only pull the story down. The ‘horror’ bits are not remotely scary and the religious stuff that accompanies it only makes it less credible. George Claire is evil enough, he didn’t need competition from sinister spirits.
Like some of the last few horror films that have come out in the fast, the cast is pretty great, but the script is a muddle. One can understand that it’s hard to cram a 400-page novel into two-hours of screen-time. From the synopsis of the book online, it’s pretty clear that the makers have made quite a few changes to the original plot. They could’ve done without a lot of sub-plots that make no sense in the timeline. For example, Claire’s eating disorder doesn’t serve much to further the story. Sure there are some crucial scenes where it’s made mention of, but they could’ve easily been tweaked.
After a slow first half, things get quite interesting in the second-half, with one little twist after the other, and as the climax approaches, it gets laughably terrible. Too many plot-holes and supernatural silliness. We don’t get to know what exactly are the motivations of some of the ‘ghosts’ and we don’t get to know why this George Claire is such a nut-job. What a waste of a potential plot and talented cast. It’s a 5/10 from me.
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