After moving out to the country, married couple Catherine and George Claire (Amanda Seyfried and James Norton) begin to notice strange happening in their home while their relationship begins to deteriorate.
Despite the fact that it comes with an interesting and game cast, and an intriguing setting, it's kind of surprising how bland 'Things Heard & Seen' ends up being. In fact, the horror trappings of the movie almost distract from what could have been an intriguing drama about a disintegrating marriage.
The confluence of a disturbed relationship and a disturbed house might seem to work on paper, but 'Things Heard & Seen' doesn't really grasp either of them with any kind of force. Instead, it's almost as if it drops a scary scene every so often as if to remind the audience that they are in fact watching a horror. As the characters begin to reveal themselves more and more, it becomes that old chestnut of the people in the house being scarier than the spirits who haunt it.
Amanda Seyfried and James Norton both bounce off one another very well, and James Norton in particular should be commended for playing the asshole husband with such vigour and commitment. Amanda Seyfried, meanwhile, is able to effectively channel the quiet desperation and bubbling rage of domesticity into a captivating performance. The supporting cast are all of a high quality too. F. Murray Abraham and Rhea Seehorn both make the most of their limited screentime without overcrowding, and the script does have some moments of clarity.
It's a shame that the tone of the movie shifts so wildly between a dark psycho-sexual drama and supernatural thriller because it never focuses in too hard on either of them. The latter isn't handled particularly well, while the former feels far more interesting. When you compare it to something like the excellent 'What Lies Beneath' with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, it doesn't have that gleeful pulpiness that this mixture needs. It's done with far too much seriousness for it to be enjoyable and ends up being just OK rather than potentially great.
'Things Heard & Seen' is available to stream on Netflix from April 30th.