(2021)

Mistrust your senses.

https://www.netflix.com/title/81048729

Catherine Clare reluctantly trades life in 1980 Manhattan for a remote home in the tiny hamlet of Chosen, New York, after her husband George lands a job teaching art history at a small Hudson Valley college. Even as she does her best to transform the old dairy farm into a place where young daughter Franny will be happy, Catherine increasingly finds herself isolated and alone. She soon comes to sense a sinister darkness lurking both in the walls of the ramshackle property—and in her marriage to George.

Horror is definitely one of my favorite genres. I find this type of film extremely impactful when done right. From sleepless nights to unforgettable images, I can never get enough of horror. However, just like every other popular genre, it reached a point where studios care more about building franchises set on formulaic screenplays than actually delivering original, creative, unique stories. Netflix isn't known for exceptional horror content, so I was skeptical going into this movie.
Things Heard & Seen may hold a generic premise, but Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are able to add enough substance to make it interesting. Amanda Seyfried (Mank) and James Norton (Little Women) offer two remarkable performances, portraying two distinct characters that somehow ended up together. Both have their own flaws, but the husband is depicted in such a negative manner that it becomes challenging to follow someone so despicable. The main narrative offers a slight twist on the usual ghost story, making it more than just a creepy jumpscare festival, as well as possessing a particularly violent scene that's no short of surprising.
Despite the suspenseful atmosphere, the slow pacing drags an overlong film that unfortunately features an underwhelming ending. The beginning of the third act reaches the peak of excitement, boasting attention-grabbing character decisions that will surely raise the entertainment value. Sadly, the mix of feminist themes with the supernatural narrative is far from getting the right balance, ending as yet another horror flick that had everything to be much, much better.
Rating: B-

Likely Story by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, Elizabeth Brundage.
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, James Norton, Natalia Dyer.

Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Keywords: based on novel or book haunted house fraud ghost troubled marriage dark secret 1980s toxic masculinity

04/29/2021

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