With the current state of the world, escapist fare doesn’t sound like a bad idea. And what’s more escapist than a movie about aliens. Now for the second time in recent weeks, a new horror movie finds inspiration from past sci-fi horror classics, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing. While The Changed delivered little new to the premise of these past movies, The Seed at least promises something different. Available on Shudder, The Seed promises to mix horror and comedy in a story about an alien invasion and social media influencers. To date, critical opinion has been on the mixed side.
Ahead of a meteor shower, three childhood friends travel to a remote villa in the Mojave desert for a girl’s weekend. Deidre and Heather are influencers – Charlotte doesn’t have a single social media account. In addition to the natural spectacular in the sky, the friends are planning a big photoshoot for their followers in between some drinking and lounging in pool. But when a strange object crashes into the pool all their plans go awry.
The Seed Is Agreeable, But Not Particularly Scary or Funny
Straight out of the gate, The Seed feels familiar while also tapping into some indie movie idiosyncrasies. Over the last few years, a handful of movies have taken shots at viral and influencer subcultures. Aside from a few subtle jabs, writer and director Sam Walker doesn’t do much with that story string. In fact, The Seed struggles to balance its horror and comedy elements. For a good 50 minutes or so, Walker adopts an almost lacksadaisal pace as he introduces us to our mismatched trio of friends. Though it’s never boring, The Seed doesn’t seem to know how to approach its more comedy-oriented bits. Neither over-the-top and silly nor dark, Walker strikes a likeable, if not, unremarkable tone.
Though it’s never boring, The Seed doesn’t seem to know how to approach its more comedy-oriented bits.
This points to a larger problem with the movie. That is, The Seed struggles to find a tone upon which to settle. It’s an affable take on influencers without much to say for its first half before transitioning into its horror elements. At this point, The Seed mixes bits of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with low-budget cornball horror-comedies like Critters. It’s never scary and only rarely offers a hint at where it wants to go. But Walker does take things into a delightfully weird cosmic horror direction that eventually strikes into body horror. And in its finale, The Seed finally finds a bit of innovation and genuinely good horror. However, it’s a case of too little, too late.
The Seed Saves All of Its Promise For a Trippy Third Act
Even The Seed’s horror effects are a mixed bag. This in part stems from the movie’s tonal problems. Our first introduction to the ‘alien invasion’ is a cute, goofy looking ball of flesh and goo. While there’s hints that all is not right, the early creature effects hint at a very different direction. In short, Walker struggles a bit with paving out a clear path for his story. This shortcoming coupled with pacing issues hampers the movie’s first half. What’s most unfortunate is that the last 30 minutes or so deliver on the movie’s promise. Despite a modest budget, The Seed features some impressively grotesque body horror.
In short, Walker struggles a bit with paving out a clear path for his story.
In regards to its characters and performances, Walker’s screenplay lets down his cast. All three principal cast members – Lucy Martin, Chelsea Edge, and Sophie Vavasseur – acquit themselves quite well. Why the movie pegs two of its characters as social media influencers is something of a mystery. Aside from a few snide jokes here and there, it’s not relevant or necessary to the story. Moreover, the characters are fairly one-note leaving little room for the actors to do much with their respective roles.
The Seed is a Middling, But Watchable Effort
Perhaps a really good movie was planted somewhere in The Seed. An amicable, quirky spirit characterizes a first half that never quite reaches ‘comedy’. But once Walker embraces some cosmic body horror The Seed picks up a bit of slack. And the climax feels like the movie you expected from the outset. Nonetheless, the overall movie feels too disjointed to fully recommend. A sense of familiarity to the proceedings only exacerbates these problems. Yet in spite of its limitations, The Seed is still watchable.