Helmed from co-directors, writers, and married couple, Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman (Succession) and adapted from the novel All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, Things Heard & Not Seen, now showing on Netflix, can be loosely called a horror movie.
It features an understandably increasingly-frustrated Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout) as Catherine Claire, the wife of college professor and artist, George Claire played by James Norton (War & Peace), and their daughter, Franny.
Now, this is a ghost story, I have to make that clear. But where Things Heard & Seen fails is committing to a true horror movie (ghosts and all) or committing to the allegorical aspect of the horror that plays on the story. They did both. And not that well.
A few pieces of furniture and ghostly apparitions appearing hardly call for excellent horror movie fodder. I admit, I went into this expecting to be scared, or at least intrigued, and I kept wondering when the horror was going to start.
Admittedly, the husband, George Claire, is the most well-defined character in the movie. What he puts his wife through will have you feeling for her, but she isn’t pure, herself. In my humble opinion, they could’ve benefited from couple’s therapy, but then, there wouldn’t be a movie, would there?
Ultimately, I felt a lot of the story was missing. Things Heard & Seen plays with the ideas of a ghost story but ultimately focuses on the living couple we follow throughout, and this is to its detriment as we never find out what really happened to the previous couple that lived there. (We do see it reenacted at the end of the movie, but even then we’re not sure what exactly happened to the original couple.)
If the writers committed to a story less about the issue facing a married couple and focused more on what happened to the ghosts that are haunting that house, this could have been a more compelling watch.