A new horror mystery coming to Netflix is always cause for minor celebration. They have produced some really solid genre flicks, including both phenomenal Babysitter films and The Ritual. I’m sad to report that Things Heard and Seen falls more into the category of misfires. An extremely talented cast, including Amanda Seyfried, James Norton, Natalie Dyer, and Rhea Seehorn, try desperately to overcome the obviousness of tropes galore. After moving to a new home, artist Catherine (Seyfried) and her husband George (Norton) begin to experience unexplained things. Catherine’s marriage implodes, along with her sanity, as she explores the dark origins of their new home. Enter: weird babysitters, a random scene of George jerking off in the shower, crows smashing through bedroom windows, axe murder, cheesy dialogue like “I know you were involved, I know it in my bones,” and a silly seance with a flowy CGI sheet.
The main issue with Things Heard and Seen is that it never quite knows what genre it wants to pick. Is it a saucy sexual thriller, or is it a haunting ghost tale, or even a marital drama? The script from writing/directing team Sheri Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini can’t seem to make its mind up or commit to a lane. This cast deserves better, especially Amanda Seyfried. She was also wasted in 2020’s You Should Have Left. I’m longing for her to do more horror, as Jennifer’s Body is one of my favorite of her performances. Now that she’s an Oscar nominee, I want to see someone write a role worthy of her talents, something akin to Toni Colette’s masterful performance in Hereditary. Now that’s something I’d love to both see and hear.
Things Heard and Seen mystifies Netflix on April 29th.