The Seed


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

The Seed
"It’s always nice to see alien encounters explored in a way which genuinely feels alien, breaking with narrative convention."

One of the first things you’ll learn if you watch or read science fiction is that meteor showers are bad for your health. Especially if they’re unexpected. Especially if you can actually see the meteors hitting the ground, and all the more so if one lands in your pool.

Dierdre (Lucy Marton), Heather (Sophie Vavasseur) and Charlotte (Chelsea Edge) are in one of the safer places to be in the event of an alien invasion: out in the desert, in the middle of nowhere. They do not, however, really have the skills for handling this kind of thing. Social media influencer Dierdre is distraught because she can’t stream what she’s seeing (never mind the fact that people can probably see it for themselves across hundreds or even thousands of miles). She and Heather are utterly disgusted by the slim-looking egg thing in the pool, and all the more so when it transforms into a wheezing, half-rotted teddy bear like creature. Charlotte feels sorry for it and tries to look after it. none of them understands what they are dealing with.

What’s enjoyable about Sam Walker’s energetic début feature is that the audience doesn’t either. When the film shifts gears – a little later than it really should – what has so far been a light horror comedy about rich, vapid teenagers (and their unhappy working class friend) on a summer break suddenly turns into a mixture of hallucinatory alien erotica and body horror. There’s some gorgeous design work in this section and it’s effectively played. It’s always nice to see alien encounters explored in a way which genuinely feels alien, breaking with narrative convention. It’s easy to see why Dierdre and Heather, weakly grounded in the real world to begin with, fall so easily under its spell, even if they do move quickly to trying to work out how to market it.

Unfortunately, this strong central idea is not backed up by many other ideas. The sub-plots trail off too early and fail to carry the sinister weight that they might. Although Edge gets a little more to work with in her obvious-from-the-outset final girl role, the other characters are too thinly drawn and as a result, parts of the film which might have worked as either comedy or horror just feel grimly misogynistic. Similarly, the digs at social media culture feel like an easy way to ridicule the younger generation without making any apparent effort to understand its culture, and whilst Dierdre may seem ridiculous when making videos for her fans, it’s a paying job, and there are plenty of equally odd traditional ones out there.

The actors are all capable enough, and the slick visuals convey a distinctive sense of style which is always nice to see in a newcomer. There are some nicely delivered moments in which Charlotte has to deal with the realisation that her rich friends simply don’t comprehend the pressures and responsibilities which she has to deal with day to day. After a slow start, the pacing works much better in the latter part. All in all, there’s enough here to suggest that Walker might deliver something interesting in the future, but this is a just the seed of that promise, and little more.

Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2022
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What starts out as girls weekend away in the Mojave desert becomes a tale of horror, death and alien invasion.
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Director: Sam Walker

Writer: Sam Walker

Starring: Lucy Martin, Sophie Vavasseur, Chelsea Edge, Anthony Edridge

Year: 2021

Runtime: 91 minutes

Country: UK


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