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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Review: Things Heard And Seen

Director: Shari Springer Berman

Screenplay: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

Year: 2021

A young couple moves to an old house with hopes of having an opportunity to improve their current living situation. However, the house holds a dark secret that becomes present as soon as the couple moves and puts their marriage to the test. The more time they spend in the place, the more secrets they discover about the last occupants of the house, as well as from their own marriage.

Like many people who see some promotion about this movie, I went into it expecting that it would be a haunted house story. This is what it promises, isn’t it? Well, the whole supernatural theme it highlights in its promotion is nothing but a promotional strategy to bring in naive people like me and then offer something completely different. The supernatural theme and the horror are just insignificant.

At first, it seems like  “Things Heard And Seen” will follow closely the supernatural haunted house topic, and instead of fearing that it would stray away from it, I feared that it would adopt the genre’s clichés. To my surprise, my fear, along with the horror, never materialized, as soon the movie drifts towards its true identity, that is nothing more than a marriage drama, where the horrors are unfaithfulness, arrogance, and lies.

The cast is what saves this movie from being a complete disaster. James Norton (“Little Woman”), who interprets George Claire, a recent art graduate, does a great job of making his character come out as pretentious and self-centered since the first time he gets on screen. This makes the viewer hate him immediately and root for his wife Catherine, interpreted by Amanda Seyfried (“Jennifer’s Body”), who just the same does an excellent job and around who a great deal of the plot revolves around.

After a long marriage drama stretch, where unfaithfulness and lies reigns, the script from Shari Springer Berman (“American Splendor”) and Robert Pulcini (“Ten Thousand Saints”), the former who also directs, tries to turn the story into a psychological thriller as a way to not leave the horror completely behind. As expected, this is nothing but a patch in a big hole and doesn’t compensate for the disappointment we get in its long 121 minutes runtime. To close with a bang, they finish the story trying to tie the outcome with the supernatural theme, but it only manages to highlight how misused and unnecessary this topic is and makes the ending feel ambiguous and out of place.

“Things Heard And Seen” uses horror as a marketing strategy to then give you two hours of pure marriage drama without a single visual or jumpscare that justifies the supernatural theme. The cast does an excellent job and saves the movie from being a complete disaster, along with the well-done cinematography. For the rest, it is a complete disappointment.

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