The Unheard movie review & film summary (2023)

Lead actress Watson has the unenviable task of playing a soft-spoken character going through extraordinary circumstances, but their performance never entirely moves past wide-eyed intrigue. The other characters Chloe meets on her journey, like Joshua (Brendan Meyer), the strange boy staying next door, and Hank (Nick Sandow), the odd too-helpful neighbor who seems too suspicious, and Doctor Lynch (Shunori Ramanathan), Chloe’s well-meaning specialist in Boston, are similarly one note.

However, Brown uses sound in such a way that immerses the audience in Chloe’s world. This can mean that conversations sound muted or muffled before the surgery, or it can spike uncomfortably to demonstrate when she’s hearing something beyond what most people can hear. Before and immediately after her procedure, Chloe relies on live transcription software to bridge any sound gaps while the movie’s audio plays unaltered in the background to demonstrate how she navigates the world independently.

It’s a testament to the work of sound designer Colin Alexander and the rest of the sound department that “The Unheard” works at all. Otherwise, Brown’s film left me wanting more. There’s not much else to enjoy from the uninspired visuals, stilted acting, and clunky script that leads up to an ending so fantastically dull it undoes the little goodwill the movie accumulates over the course of its runtime. Perhaps “The Unheard” is better left unseen.

Now playing on Shudder.