Seed (UK - DVD R2)
Leigh Riding reviews the 2007 horror outing from the notorious Uwe Boll...
When notorious serial killer Max Seed (Will Sanderson) survives the electric chair, Seed's nemesis Detective Bishop (Michael Pare) persuades the prison warden to bury him alive to cover the incident up. Seed breaks free of his coffin and sets out to wage bloody retribution upon those responsible.
Good grief, these Uwe Boll films are coming around fast; Postal was only released three months ago. Much like that film, Seed was made back in 2007 and is only now deemed worthy of being taken off the shelf and dusted down. Now, I understand why the controversial Postal may have had trouble finding distribution, but I had trouble figuring out what could possibly hold back Seed. It would take three attempts at sitting through the film to find out why.
Given the director's reputation, one would assume that those three attempts were a result of a truly bad film. Far from it; in truth Boll has intentionally crafted one of the most nihilistic, oppressive and unpleasant horror films I have ever sat through. Despite Boll's roughshod and ham-fisted filmmaking skills, there are scenes and images in Seed that still stick in my mind. The edge in the film is certainly not in the filmic construction, as the script is poor, performances are scattershot, and there are some serous pacing problems. The sales pitch is all wrong as well; while Seed appears to be a cross between Hostel and 'boogeyman' horror in the style of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger (Seed himself looks like a cross between Leatherface and a WWE wrestler), and a plot that blags directly from Wes Craven's Shocker. In truth, there are elements of heavier fare such as Nightmare in a Damaged Brain and Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Boll himself has said he didn't want to make a 'fun' horror, and indeed there is some depressing content in Seed. Much has been made of the PETA submitted footage used in the film, and the time lapse footage of decomposing animals trapped in Seed's dungeon does set a heavy tone for the film. There are some scenes that truly upset me in the film, such as the scene of a baby in the dungeon starving to death in time lapse, a scene that held for a good five minutes, with long, long takes of the cops watching the tape and their reactions towards it. Being a parent, this is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever had to watch in a horror film.
Boll uses these long takes far too often in Seed and this kills the film's pace stone dead. The initial search for Seed runs for about twenty minutes, with no incident aside from the occasional torch beam in a dark room, which becomes very tedious. There are many sequences like this dotted throughout the film, and the whole enterprise ends up bogged down dreadfully.
There are positives, believe it or not; there is some superb production design, a couple of cool kills such as a prison guard's head being rammed though cell bars, and the notorious 'hammer' sequence. Filmed in a fixed single five minute take, it involves a woman tied to a chair, and Seed brandishing a hammer. At first, Seed strolls around the chair, lightly tapping the sobbing woman's head, and slowly hits harder and harder until the woman has nothing but a bloody lump for a head. It's a bravura sequence, let down by poor CGI transitions.
These very few promising segments are unfortunately drowned by the generally overbearing depression that the film offers, and the whole endeavour becomes a rather repugnant watch. The only truly positive comment I can make on the film is that it seems Uwe Boll appears to have finally created a consistent tone; unfortunately, it's one of abject misery.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer offered here is acceptable, with some heavy grain in indoor scenes, but black levels are strong and the 70s style cinematography is well represented. The source material is really the only problem here, as opposed to a sloppy transfer
Metrodome offer both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround tracks. Generally the 5.1 track is satisfactory, with strong dialogue and surrounds being well utilised, especially during the police siege on Seed's house. Unfortunately, the score tends to swamp the mix a little too much. The 2.0 option sounds far too muddy to my ears, and tends to exhibit a rather throbbing mix.
The extra content for Seed is thin on the ground compared to the region one disc. The ‘Making of’ feature is only really a B-roll, with nothing in the way of talking heads or narration. Also included is the theatrical trailer.
Seed must be perhaps the most depressing movie I have ever seen, and it really was a tough watch. While the tone is for once both intended and consistent for a Boll film, the end result is so bleak and nihilistic that any sense of entertainment is sucked out of the film completely. Seed is a repellent little film that is almost impossible to recommend. Avoid.
Review by Leigh Riding
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 24th November 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital English. 2.0 Surround English
Extras: Behind The Scenes, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Uwe Boll
Cast: Michael Pare, Will Sanderson
Length: 86 minutes
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