TV Review: Things Heard and Seen

As a huge fan of Amanda Seyfried, this move was on my watch list as soon as it came out on Netflix. However, expecting a horror, my expectations were pleasantly subverted with this dark exploration of religion, paranormal activity, and a deteriorating marriage.

So first off, I will say, this is definitely not horror. Well, not in the traditional sense. Yes, it is dark, and yes, there are ghosts, but whilst suspenseful, the film lacks the constant jump scares that seem to define the genre. More importantly, the ghosts aren’t the centre of this film, which chooses to focus more on the troubled relationship between Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) and her husband George (James Norton).

Set in the 1980s, after a married couple and their daughter move out of Manhattan for George’s new job, Catherine begins to suspect that their new home is haunted and explores the history of those who lived there before. Yet the real threat is much closer, and this film, instead of focussing on a malevolent spirit, chooses to consider a much more real danger in the home.

Based on the book All Things cease to Appear, as the couple builds a new life, they begin to grow apart, and Catherine questions just how well she really knows her husband, and what he might be capable of.

Although this film hasn’t been particularly well-received, with many labelling it as underwhelming, I think that it has just been wrongly labelled. This is not a horror movie or a ghost story.

It is an exploration of a troubled family, and the story well portrays the toxic masculinity exerted by George over his wife, as he steadily becomes more overtly controlling and manipulative, getting caught up in his lies, telling her who she can talk to, and belittling her problems based on her struggles with an eating disorder.

So yes, whilst this film isn’t a particularly good scary movie, it was definitely worth a watch, if not simply for Seyfried and Norton’s chilling portrayal of a distanced marriage.

‘Things Heard and Seen’ is available to stream on Netflix

By Frankie Cummings

Feature image: Netflix


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