It’s usually a good idea to try and find the positives in a movie when trying to review it, especially since there are a few notable actors in this movie that deserve a bit of respect for the roles they portray. Unfortunately, Things Heard & Seen doesn’t really give the audience a lot to go on when it comes to story, as this feels like a very thin plot stretched over a feature-length movie. The effect is that the movie comes off as kind of plodding in its pace as it stalls here and there and delivers moments that aren’t nearly as effective as they could be. The movie can be summarized by stating that it’s about a family of three that move out into the country and start to experience unknown phenomena in their home as there’s a spirit there that becomes protective of mother and child while the father cheats with a younger woman, kills those who find out his secrets, and eventually destroys his family before seeking to make his getaway. There’s more to it, of course, but the fact is that if one manages to watch this movie all the way through, one might feel a bit cheated.
The father, George, is a privileged individual, without a doubt.
At some point, the whole idea is that George gets what he wants, which is something that Catherine even states in the movie. This is a privileged individual whose parents actually vouch for him at some point in the movie, and how has his dream job after Catherine gives up her own position in the city. In other words, if he wants it, he will get it simply because he finds a way to make it happen. That turns him into a character that’s hard to like and even harder to get behind since he’s obviously a piece of garbage who doesn’t mind sleeping with other women and even flirting with them when his daughter is around. George is the type of guy that is on top of the world when everything is going his way but is prone to whining when things don’t go the way he wants. In other words, he’s a decent antagonist.
It’s easy to wonder why the writers didn’t fashion a way for Catherine to get out, even temporarily.
To tell the truth, this might have made the movie a little easier to watch since it would have advanced the conflict a bit more and even given people something to watch other than the slow burn that the movie eventually became. The acting wasn’t horrible, but the story felt imbalanced in a way that makes it clear that the writers were thinking more about imagery and less about real development or believable dialogue. Trying to create a balanced story requires a healthy amount of dialogue and action, and while the imagery is great since it can help to tell the story and, in some cases, even tell the story on its own, it was used in this movie to create meaning and showcase one element of the story or another. Unfortunately, it was used a little too much to be effective.
Catherine’s death does come as a bit of a surprise.
In some ways, it’s nice (morbid as that sounds) to see that Catherine’s death is allowed without a nick of time rescue and that George is about to get away with everything. But at the same time, it’s still a bit of a surprise since, despite showing that he does have murderous tendencies, one can’t help but think that George is an impulse killer, especially since this can be proven given the ways that he kills people and how he doesn’t really cover up anything that might lead back to him. The fact that Catherine had to be sacrificed in this story is intriguing since one might have hoped that she would be able to last long enough to outwit her husband and make an escape. But obviously, that wasn’t the plan. Maybe it was better that way.
The final image is powerful enough, but it took a long time to build up to it.
The amount of imagery used in this movie was interesting, but as I mentioned, it was a bit too much at times. The final image, however, is interesting since the opposite image, of a spirit entering the afterlife, was used quite prominently. Taking a look at the image used at the end makes one realize, however, that the idea of evil losing in the end, one way or another, is true since while the initial image meant the ascendance of a soul into heaven, the last image showed that George was damned, which is fitting for this movie.
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