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Things Heard & Seen Pretty, Eerie But Unconvincing



Things Heard  & Seen(Netflix)

Starring  Amanda Seyfried and James Norton

Directed by  Shari Springer Berman,Robert Pulcini

Rating: **

The  victim, the cad and  the  victim card…In how many films would we get to see the  pretty fragile heroine(this one  is anorexic too, sticking her  finger up her throat after a bite of a cake,etc) being led to her  eerie death  by  the one whom she trusts  the  most, preferably  in a  large Gothic  house which  has seen better  days?

 Sigh. One  more shiver giver  about the  lovely haunted heroine Catherine, played  by  Amanda Seyfried whom  I will always  remember  singing and dancing  to ABBA songs with Meryl Streep in Mama Mia. Ms Seyfried  is evidently trying to escape her confectionary   image  and  climb to  a  more serious-actress label. Which is fine. No harm in being ambitious(though I  saw no signs  of  the  same  in  the  presentation).

But the material here is hardly conducive to  histrionic  explorations. The heroine has to  act  resigned(to a  life in  the countryside with her  little daughter and her academic husband), scared(when the  lamp in her daughter’s  room acquires a life of its own), amused(when a  new gal pal gives her gyan on how to keep  husbands on a  leash) and a little shocked(when she  espies her husband pleasuring  himself  in  the shower).

These stock responses apart, the plot serenades a  density that  it is incapable of shouldering.It  is  is  left  to that fine  British  actor  James  Norton to do all the heavy  lifting in the  skimpy screenplay which doesn’t  really give  any actor much weight to left. Wispy as  hell, and just not crisp enough at the  top  , Things Heard  & Seen gets by on Norton’s  partially successful  attempts  to induce  a sense of genuine creepiness  into his  evil character.

As  the layers  of George’s  duplicity and subterfuge  are laid open,in both his  academic and  domestic  capacities,  the  narration gets somewhat  interesting, only to collapse in a messy heap at  the end .Also the idea that human beings can be far more diabolic than  ghosts  never attains an urgent  currency in the  plot. Norton’s  performance remains  more  interesting than anything the ghosts do. And that’s pretty much a sign of  failure for the film.

It  is more  commendable   for what  it promises that what  is finally delivers. The scenic  British  countryside  is captivating .At times I  just wanted  the characters to  move out of camera range so I could see  the mountains  better.

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