As I watched this two-hour feature, it initially felt like a murder mystery. Then it felt like a supernatural horror... Then it felt more like a psychological thriller. And by the end, I just stared back at my screen and thought: "Wait, what in the world just happened?"
In a nutshell, this film is very different from your typical jump-scare thriller. While there's a whole lot of suspense, it's also packed (and I mean packed) with complex themes, from the spiritual realm and morality to the controversial views of pluralistic-Christian philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. For instance, George and his peer, Floyd DeBeers (F. Murray Abraham), engage in fascinating discussions about the afterlife and Swedenborg's book, Heaven and Hell, while Catherine tries to grapple with a shocking revelation about her new home. But guys, none of these were even the scariest part. What really got to me was the portrayal of Catherine and George's problematic relationship which, in a sense, felt like its own horror story.
Catherine and George's sudden move puts a huge strain on their marriage, but it's clear that their dynamic wasn't healthy to begin with. There's secrecy, dishonesty and harbored resentment. But throughout the film, I was struck by George's behavior. His dismissive responses to his wife's concerns really speak to how damaging it can be when a partner causes you to question your own sanity, but it also drives another important point home: that people in the real world—even those that you trust—can be just as scary as those in the unseen realm.
As expected, Seyfried's performance is nothing short of spectacular. The Oscar-nominated star embodies the cautious and inquisitive artist who craves community and support, and Norton is very convincing as the deceitful husband.
Things Heard & Seen will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking horrors that go beyond bone-chilling suspense. It's also worth noting that there is one especially gory scene, some partial nudity and profanity, so it may not be suited for younger audiences. But all in all, it's a fascinating film—and that ending will definitely get fans talking.