Things Heard & Seen, based on the best-selling novel by Elizabeth Brundage, is a 2021 film released on Netflix. According to the summary on IMDB: “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.” It seemed like the basis for a classic scary movie.
The film starts like most in this genre do: a seemingly happy couple moves to a small town into a house that just needs some TLC. Neighbors watch the new owners from a distance. It’s a good setup that sort of keeps the charade of a haunting ghost story for a little while. Somewhere along the line though, it stops being about the ghosts and becomes something more akin to a bad drama about greed, desire, and philandering.
While one could have attributed these behaviors to the ghostly inhabitants of the house, the film isn’t clear about it at all. There are still supernatural moments, but less of the scary variety and more of a cool roommates kind of way.
After the first half of the film, the fear of the supernatural is gone and replaced with the disdain for a character you suspected from the beginning. The script falters and loses sight of what worked in the first half to leave you feeling cheated in the second. The cliches, predictable actions of characters, and an ending that made no logical sense… all combine to make this film fall flat and leave you wanting your time back.
In this case, we will say we watched it so you don’t have to.
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