Things Heard & Seen ending explained – what happened to George? Catherine and George's demise.

April 29, 2021
Daniel Hart 6
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix

This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Things Heard & Seen, so it will contain major spoilers.

Read the review

In the 120 minutes run-time, Things Heard & Seen was aiming for a specific ending for viewers. It slowly built up a fractured marriage with plenty of unspoken words, ready to be spilled out and created into a moment of chaos. There’s a presumed escalation between Catherine (played by Amanda Seyfried) and George (played by James Norton) as they go through the motions of their marriage, while the evil of the house does its job.

As the film enters the final act, George is under pressure — he’s killed his boss Floyd from the University and put Justine into a coma. His wife is completely disconnected from the marriage — she’s seen who her husband has become, and in her emotional frailty, she slept with the groundskeeper Eddie Vayle (we all saw this coming from the start of the film — she was way too eager to hire him).

Things Heard & Seen toys the audience with two themes — a paranormal curse and a fractured marriage, and the ending tries to tie both of them up for the audience.

Netflix’s Things Heard & Seen – the ending explained

After playing innocent at the university all day regarding Floyd’s death, George returns home to his wife, Catherine. He suspects that she will leave with his daughter after seeing the young Franny fully clothed in bed. The couple argues outside in the cold, and Catherine raises her suspicions — that George killed Floyd and hurt Justine. Of course, George denies everything, and with his psychopathic tendencies, tells his wife that her under-eating is making her delirious and imagine things (she has bulimia). George suggests that she leaves and that he will look after their daughter.

George heads back inside, and a panicked Catherine heads back inside and looks for George and Franny — however, she cannot find either. Suddenly, Catherine is consumed by spirits whispering to her — Ella tries to warn her for what’s to come, but before she can respond, she collapses on the bed unconscious.

George enters the room, and a male spirit voice (we presume Calvin Vayle’s as he speaks to him later on) whispers to him, telling George what to do. Unable to battle the whispers in his head, George axes his wife to death. It’s a bloodbath.

What happens next?

The ending of Things Heard & Seen makes it look easy for George as he builds himself an alibi the next day and tells the police that his wife has been brutally murdered in a “robbery gone wrong”.

With George a “person of interest,” he heads back to the city with his parents and gets himself a lawyer. However, when he receives a note from Justine, telling him that she’s woken up and knows what he did, the spirits continue to taunt him. George believes he needs to get a boat and sail out into the sea.

And he does just that — as he sails further, the sea shows flames that start engulfing his boat — the spirits of Ella and Catherine whisper to him, “Damned. Damned. The world of spirits is not Heaven or Hell. We stand between the two. We have lost our children. Because of you, we are joined in spirit. Because of you, our powers grow. From tiny drops into an endless sea”.

The spirits of Catherine and Ella came together to get their revenge. We can assume George was engulfed and killed by the flames.

Zooming out

After George’s demise, the scene freezes, and it zooms out to show a portrait that’s nestled in the town art gallery — it shows the same boat, engulfed in flames in the sea. It then zooms in on the portrait of Reverend Smit and his wife outside the house they once owned, and George and Catherine settled in. The black and white portrait colorizes to show the married couple. The Reverend’s wife is wearing the same ring that Catherine found — earlier in the film, Catherine is told that it was Ella’s ring, but she must have found it in the house as well.

Theories

Everything is up for interpretation, but we can only assume that the Reverend’s wife cursed the house and has since terrorized couples that live in it. Earlier in the film, we learn that the Reverend and his wife were not a happy couple, and the wife died suspiciously at the age of 26. It appears the house follows the same pattern — the Vayle family moved in, and the couple was not happy, and their demise follows. And then the Claire family moves in, and so on, and so on.

However, what the film is not specifically clear about is whether the husbands of the Vayle or Claire family acted on their own or if they were good men and had become entrapped by spirits. While we could argue that George became evil because of the curse brought on by spirits, he arrived in the town after sending in a fraudulent reference to the university. He then proceeded to sleep with Willis as soon as he moved in.

With little to be said about whether George was this man before he arrived in the town will remain interpretative, but based on the ending, it looks like George and Catherine were victims of an unfortunate revengeful spirit that despised the men of the world.

6 thoughts on “Things Heard & Seen ending explained – what happened to George?

  • April 29, 2021 at 1:14 pm
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    George also had essentially assumed his late cousin’s identity claiming the seascape paintings were his own and it was mentioned that he inherited his late cousin’s boat. I have my suspicions that what George did to Floyd was done earlier to his cousin who we were told had also drowned so I believe that George was evil long before he encountered Calvin’s spirit.

    • April 29, 2021 at 1:15 pm
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      Another good point! Thanks Anna.

  • April 29, 2021 at 7:00 pm
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    Really takes a man to write a review of a movie about inherently problematic men who end up being misogynistic and abusive and describe those same men as “victims of an unfortunate revengeful spirit that despised the men of the world.”
    Like wow. Even the children of the prior owners (willis and eddie) lamented what a horrible person their father was. And the original couple who died succumbed to a reverand who didn’t like his wives new interest in philosophy that conflicted with his calvinist beliefs. But this needs to pointed out to the movie reviewer.

    • April 29, 2021 at 7:13 pm
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      Hi Khloe, I fully understand that the leading man in this movie (George) is misogynistic and abusive. What the film didn’t nail is whether he was cursed by the spirit, which led to his actions against his wife when they moved into the house. There’s clear escalation in the film.

      Yes, the prior owners of the house did lament how horrible their father was — again, I did not dispute that. But again, did the film nail whether the actions were due to being cursed? There’s a pattern in this house — it is a horror movie after all. As another comment has suggested, George did show less moralistic actions before moving into the house i.e. stealing his cousin’s artwork.

      As for the Reverend. Of course, he wasn’t under any curse whatsoever. It wouldn’t be out of the possibility that the men who moved into the house were acting as the Reverend, and the Reverend’s wife was fighting against him with her curse.

      Again, it’s all intepretative, which is what my ending explained was trying to suggest. Nothing in my ending explained suggests that these men were not misogynistic and abusive — the film purposefully keeps it vague on whether the spirit of the house was the reasons of event. Even a few side characters of the film hint that the house is cursed!

  • May 2, 2021 at 1:04 pm
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    The movie did, as a matter of fact, address whether George was a victim or a perpetrator of evil. During the seance scene – Floyd and his group of Swedenborgian followers explain to Catherine that evil spirits are only attracted to evil doers. The spirits can’t compel you to so something beyond your nature, only encourage you along the path you are already on – whether that is good or evil. Meaning, in order for the evil spirits to have any power over George he had to first create the path with evil deeds.

    • May 2, 2021 at 1:05 pm
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      That’s a great catch. Thank you, Janet.

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