The Seed - New Release Review
Director: Sam Walker
Starring: Chelsea Edge, Lucy Martin, Sophie Vavasseur, Jamie Wittebrood
Written by: Sam Walker
Produced by: Chris Hartman, Matt Hookings, James Norrie
Cinematography by: Ben Braham Ziryab
Original Score by: Lucrecia Dalt
What starts out as girls weekend away in the Mojave desert becomes a tale of horror, death and alien invasion.
Having honed his craft on various short films over the last twenty years, writer and director Sam Walker brings his version of a low-key body horror/alien invasion story to the screen for his debut feature film. ‘The Seed’ follows three friends, two of which are modern day entitled social media influencers, who travel for a weekend stay to an isolated area in the Mojave desert to cover a “once in a lifetime” meteor shower and subsequent photoshoot for their online media channels. Their plans are turned upside down when during the meteor shower their phones stop working and something otherworldly crash lands in their outdoor swimming pool. The foreign object initially looks like a fragment of a stray meteorite but the trio soon discover that the “rock” has a face. Cue a lot of uncertainty which eventually leads to total chaos.
Before we actually get any hints of anything horrific, much of the film explores the hierarchy between the three friends and how much social media has affected our everyday society. There’s Diedre or Dee (Lucy Martin) who is the “leader” of the group. An insanely high maintenance piece of work who seems to live for likes. Her understudy is Heather (Sophie Vavasseur) a rich princess-type, slightly more air-heady, who clearly vies for Dee’s approval and then there’s Charlotte or Charls (Chelsea Edge) who is the most down to Earth, non materialistic out of the three. She is immediately highlighted as the odd one out and that fact is consistently supported as the narrative progresses. She doesn’t even have the latest smart phone for goodness sake and she never wears a skimpy bikini, unlike the other two. Shock horror.
The three have been good friends for many years but there’s clearly a disconnect between their personalities and general outlook on life, no matter how much they try to live in the same bubble. There’s a distinct class divide too, and they know that this exists between them but they obviously still love each other. Their differences are highlighted even more glaringly when the visitor, which turns out to be some sort of alien animal, arrives in their back garden. Charlotte shows empathy towards the animal whilst Dee and Heather want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Heather is instantly reluctant and Dee even wants to kill it. She cares more about fixing her phone than showing any sort of maternal instincts. It’s almost like she sees that kind of attribute as a weakness.
All of the build up is quite enjoyable in that even though Dee and Heather aren’t the most likeable characters there is enough humour in here to keep it going. The trio think the alien might be an armadillo or a type of bear and their idiotic conversations about what it is, where it came from and what they should do about it does have it’s comical moments, especially when desperation starts to really kick in.
What Sam Walker does really well is create a deep sense of anxiety and suspicion within the group that permeates slowly as their uncertainty about the alien increases. The alien itself is an animatronic puppet which definitely adds to it’s believability. It looks a bit like a demonic Pokémon and there’s a nice scare (the only one in the entire film) when it comes to life again and screeches incessantly. Some of the acting is hit and miss at times with Chelsea Edge being the positive constant throughout. When the alien begins to make its mark and compromise the girls, starting with Dee and then Heather, we get some really cool trippy imagery alluding to a sexual encounter which eventually leads to insemination. The alien animal’s plan all along, as the title suggests, is to pass on its seed and multiply its numbers presumably at a supernaturally quick pace.
Despite some positives the film does sort of lack something. The budget becomes evident at times but generally the look of the film is very good. It just wants to be two different things at once and it often struggles to find the balance between silliness and genuine sincerity. The first half is very much a comedy but the third act suddenly turns quite grotesque. The special effects are pretty good, especially towards the end, but they don’t save it. It’s an enjoyable enough watch but the tone is a bit all over the place and the plot has been done before and unfortunately it doesn't quite live up to it's promise.
- Gavin Logan
‘The Seed’ is available to stream exclusively on Shudder from March 10th