Amanda Seyfried and James Norton take the lead in Things Heard And Seen, Netflix’s film adaptation of Elizabeth Brundage’s 2016 novel All Things Cease To Appear. And the internet has so many thoughts about the terrifying thriller…
Updated 29 April: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Netflix is pulling out all the stops with its star-studded offering of original films this year. And sinister new thriller, Things Heard And Seen (which dropped on the streaming platform earlier today), has certainly gotten people talking.
Starring the talented Amanda Seyfried, the film is an adaptation of Elizabeth Brundage’s 2016 novel All Things Cease To Appear. As such, it follows the story of art history professor, George (James Norton), and his artist wife, Catherine (Seyfried), when they move to the middle-of-nowhere after George gets a teaching gig a small private college.
As soon as she steps inside their new home (a suitably creaky and creepy old house), Catherine senses that something is amiss. It’s not long, though, before she realises that the property’s ghosts are the least of her worries…
The majority of people’s reactions to the film have been positive, to say the least.
“Just watched #ThingsHeardAndSeen on Netflix and it was so good!” reads one such tweet.
” I’m sold… I’ve got my munchies sorted… and I’m starting the movie right now!” said another.
“While in the horror genre, #ThingsHeardAndSeen looks at timely subjects,” insists another. “Toxic personalities, what death means and if people ever really get away with anything… check it out!”
And one more, too terrified to process their thoughts after watching the film, simply tweeted the words: “Nope, nope, nope.”
Others, though, have been less enthralled with the film’s complex narrative.
“Bad news. I did not care for the things I heard and saw in #ThingsHeardAndSeen. Not even Amanda Seyfried and James Norton’s good performances could save this one,” reads one tweet.
Another says the film is “too long, but a fun guilty pleasure thriller until weak final 20 minutes. Juicy dialogue.”
And one more notes: “The main issue with #ThingsHeardAndSeen [is that] it never quite knows what genre it wants to pick. Is it a saucy sexual thriller, or a haunting ghost tale, or even a marital drama?”
Reviews are still pouring in for the film, but it seems critics aren’t exactly fans; Things Heard And Seen currently boasts a 35% ‘rotten’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with many insisting it’s a solid – albeit clichéd – horror.
“What lies beneath Things Heard And Seen are clichés,” reads Variety’s review.
IndieWire, meanwhile, has branded the thriller as a “bizarre yet entertaining” watch. Screen Daily, meanwhile, promises that “you can never go broke with a nicely-packaged supernatural thriller like Things Heard And Seen.”
And The Hollywood Reporter? Well, their reviewer says: “Things Heard And Seen shows us a marriage in which mistrust creeps in to fill the void left by a lack of love – a horror we hear and see, all right, but never feel in our bones.”
Essentially, then, it seems this is the sort of Marmite film that people either love or hate.
What’s the plot of Netflix’s Things Heard And Seen?
As reported on 20 January: The film’s official synopsis is… well, it’s sparse, at best.
“An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history,” it teases.
For those who want a little more information, though, it’s worth noting that Things Heard And Seen is an adaptation of Elizabeth Brundage’s 2016 novel All Things Cease To Appear.
And, for those who haven’t read the book already, the blurb on the back gives us a slightly more robust idea of what to expect.
With that in mind, then, look away now if you want to avoid spoilers.
“This begins the morning Catherine Clare died,” reads the book’s synopsis. “The day her daughter spent in the house with her. The evening her husband came home to find her.
“This becomes the tale of their marriage, and the ones around them. A tale of bonds between families, between lives living and lost, and of the lonely ones that share no bonds at all.
“Who should be pitied? And who must be feared?”
If you’re still scratching your head, Caroline Leavitt’s glowing review of the book promises that it weaves a tale as ” terrifyingly unsettling, and as beautiful, as cracking ice over a raging river.
“Part murder mystery, part ghost story, it’s also a profound look at how past guilt informs the present, how what we yearn for is not always what we get, and how it’s not only houses that can be haunted, but people as well.”
Consider us intrigued.
Who stars in the cast of Netflix’s Things Heard And Seen?
Amanda Seyfried and James Norton take the lead in Things And Seen as the troubled couple at the story’s centre.
The thriller also stars Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer, Rhea Seehorn, Alex Neustaedter, and F. Murray Abraham.
What are people saying about Netflix’s Things Heard And Seen?
Speaking to EW, writer-directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman have promised that their film is not a horror film; rather, it is a supernatural thriller, where the real horror of the story lies within a marriage.
“I think one of the most frightening things in the world is a marriage,” says Springer Berman. “It can be incredibly wonderful, and it can be incredibly frightening and scary, both at the same time.”
She adds: “I would hope that people could watch a movie and get caught up in the drama and the scares and the relationships, but also come away thinking about some of the bigger questions about karma, about the nature of life and death….
“And also, as a woman, as a female director, I was very interested in the sort of idea of a woman finding her voice, and struggling to find her voice in a marriage and in the world.”
When will Things Heard And Seen become available to stream on Netflix?
The rumoured release date for this one is 30 April 2021, so watch this space!
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.