Shudder’s latest film, The Seed, is the feature-film debut of writer and directer Sam Walker. The film follows three childhood friends who go to have an idyllic getaway in the Mojave desert. Two of the women are social media influencers while the third is a bit more analog. In the luxurious vacation home, the trio plan to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower while also taking the time to promote their influencer presence online. As the meteor shower begins, the internet goes out, forcing the women to actually admire the marvelous sight. Not long after, something crash lands into their pool from the night sky. What they think is an egg or a dead animal, they eventually realize is a living thing. Little do the friends know that this thing is not as helpless as it seems.
The Seed is a bizarre blend of Society, Revenge, and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. As it begins, it’s difficult to not get caught up in the perfect aesthetics of the location and the women. Everything is beautiful and perfect. That is, until an alien being crashes into the pool. It stinks, it’s gooey, and it makes a piercing cry when unhappy. At first, the women believe the alien to be some kind of injured baby bear, although it looks a lot more like a hairless wombat to me. The way this thing continually wreaks havoc on the lives of these women makes for some extremely dark comedic moments. You’ll definitely laugh, but some of that laughter might be just as much from discomfort as it is from humor.
The three leads in The Seed all bring out of this world performances (pun intended). Chelsea Edge (Vera, Suspicion) stars as Charlotte. Charlotte is the most disconnected of the friends. She works a dead-end job, doesn’t have social media, and doesn’t come from money like her two friends. Edge is a natural at conveying vulnerability and strength in turn for this character. Sophie Vavasseur (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Becoming Jane) plays Heather, the friend whose father owns the vacation home and who is the “hippy” influencer of the group. Vavasseur is great at showing how Heather is a spoiled rich girl, yet she cares about her friends and acts as the peacekeeper between the other two women. Then there is Lucy Martin (Vikings, The Grand Duke of Corsica) as Deidre. This character is the more stereotypical influencer, caring about nothing but her looks, her phone, and making money from her social media posts. Martin is perfect at making Deidre the kind of character horror fans love to hate.
While the plot and performances of this film are quite entertaining, what horror fans are likely going to remember most about The Seed are the aesthetics. The set itself is gorgeous. Everything is so pristine, creating a backdrop that would be any influencers dream photoshoot location. Yet what makes the film truly memorable is to see that beauty destroyed. The wombat-looking alien, which is done entirely with practical effects, is both cute and disgusting. When the alien is first shown in its final form, it looks like a helpless little baby, albeit a very goopy and slimy baby. As the audience and characters learn more about the alien and what it’s capable of, not only do we get even more grotesque practical effects, but we get some shocking moments that will be seared into your brain.
The Seed is a darkly humorous jaunt that allows chaos to crash through influencer culture, leaving carnage in its wake. Walker creates a gooey melting pot of horror, sci-fi, and comedy. There is something profoundly satisfying about watching something so beautiful be utterly destroyed in the most disgusting way. The plot might be a bit superficial, just like the characters, but the performances and practical effects make for a wild and fun ride.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10