Seed (2007)
By: Stuart Giesel on February 22, 2012  | 
DVD
Vivendi (USA) | Region 1, NTSC | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 90 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Uwe Boll
Starring: Michael Pare, Will Sanderson, Ralf Moeller
Screenplay: Uwe Boll
Country: Canada
External Links
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It was with utmost trepidation that I began to watch Seed. After all, this is from the director of such Z-grade shlock as Alone In The Dark, Bloodrayne, Dungeon Siege and other abortive computer-game-to-movie productions. However, having sat through infamous German director Uwe Boll's (presumably low budget) grim horror film Seed, I had to admit that whilst the film had many shortcomings, it proved to be at times as genuinely stomach-churning and unsettling as one would hope a 'horror' film could be. Sure, it's not up there with A Serbian Film or Human Centipede II in the ick factor, but Seed sure doesn't pull any punches and it's miles better than flashier wannabe "horror" films like The Haunting In Connecticut.

Pissweak Detective Matt Bishop (Boll regular Michael Pare, who's as wooden here as a barrel full of two-by-fours) has brought notorious serial killer Max Seed (played by another Boll regular, Will Sanderson) to justice. Seed has apparently killed hundreds of people (666 in 6 days according to a newspaper clipping, ho-ho), and is put to the electric chair to pay for his crimes. According to the film, the state law (which US state, exactly?) mandates that "a prisoner sentenced to death by electric chair, who survives three jolts of 15,000 volts each for 45 seconds, must be set free". That's a pretty specific law, if you ask me. I don't know why equating someone's freedom to their ability to survive three rounds of massive electric current is part of state law, but I guess that's why I'm not a lawmaker. So -- guess what? -- Seed survives the electric chair, apparently due to the fact that the chair's a piece of rubbish and should have been replaced years ago. But instead of honouring state law, the powers-that-be, including Dr Wickson (Andrew Jackson) who only cares about the security of his job, and Warden Calgrove (the amusingly voiced Ralf Moeller, who sounds like Schwarzenegger on downers) decide to surreptitiously bury Seed alive and pretend like the execution went off without a hitch. Naturally, Seed escapes his earthen prison and sets off to take revenge on the bureaucrats who denied him his well-earned freedom.

The threadbare plot is simply an excuse for Boll to prove that he can film a grimy, seedy, bloody horror film as well as the next perv. This is probably as relentlessly downbeat, mean-spirited and nasty as exploitation cinema gets, which I assume was Boll's intention (other than making a few bucks out of another low-budget venture that lures in shmucks like myself).

Seed opens with a series of upsetting real-life animal cruelty videos which Max Seed himself is watching, presumably to show us how screwed up he is, and also presumably to warn the audience about what's to come. The film explains that they have "incorporated this footage into the context of the film to make a statement about humanity". I call shenanigans on this. What it certainly does make a statement about is the despicable lengths the production crew will go to make their movie stand out from the wave of grisly low-budget hack-fests that litter our shelves. Like Cannibal Holocaust, I found the scenes of animal cruelty to be the most nauseating but, unlike Holocaust, I found Seed to be virtually indefensible by the crew as to why they appear within the context of the film. They're simply there to shock. At least the animal scenes in Holocaust fit with the story (sort of).

That aside, Seed soon settles into your bog-standard ultra-violent slasher film, complete with ridiculous logic, dire acting and the odd excellent gore set-piece to retain interest. Cinematography is all over the place, mimicking that annoying "restless camera" feel that has been an unfortunate staple of TV cop shows and Bourne Ultimatum-style thrillers. Some of the kills are surprisingly well done, and there's a mean undercurrent to the proceedings that I thought had long gone out of fashion, but one that reminded me of old exploitation fare like the original Last House On The Left and I Spit On Your Grave (and The Devil's Rejects, for a more modern example). There's a particularly memorable scene involving a hammer that goes on in one take for four-minutes-something that, whilst sporting pretty lame CGI, has its heart in the right place as far as this stuff goes. It at least shows that whilst Boll is not the best director around, he's certainly not the worst at this stage in his career.

Seed is by no means good cinema. It's often tortuously slow-paced, the acting is sub-standard at best and brutally awful at worst, the gore and CGI vary from very good to piss-poor, and the dialogue and plot are threadbare. But as pure, unadulterated horror it succeeds, and is legitimately disturbing at times. And, after all, what better way to measure the quality of a horror film than as the provocateur of some sort of extreme reaction? It's hard to recommend Seed to most, but for those who are in the right sort of mood it's not the absolute wreck that an Uwe Boll production tends to suggest.
Video
Video is by-the-numbers for this sort of production - not especially terrible, but nothing to write home about either. Obviously the quality varies wildly with the real animal footage, and the video feed scenes are appropriately low quality. The film proper is dour and occasionally underlit, which presumably was Boll's intent, but when the camera's not moving around spastically the quality is pretty decent.
Audio
Glorious 5.1 surround! As with the video, it's of serviceable quality. There's lots of rumbling on the track, and not much in the way of effects, and even the "jump shock" sounds are pretty meh, but dialogue is clear. It's obviously better than the 2.0 track, but it's hardly reference quality.
Extra Features
Director's commentary with Uwe Boll: If you can get past the accent, Boll's commentary is at times quite amusing and informative, and unlike some other commentaries there are few dead spots. Amusingly he pronounces Seed as "Seet".

Deleted scenes: 16 minutes of pretty useless deleted stuff, most of it longer takes of scenes used in the film (the video feeds) which are pretty unwatchable. There's also a scene with Seed doing calisthenics in front of the TV (!) which was wisely excised from the final cut.

Behind the scenes: Behind the scene footage without edits; as dull as it sounds, but if it's to reflect how dull life is on the average movie set then mission accomplished.

Criticized: An 18 minute short film about a filmmaker who gets back at a critic (echoes of Boll's infamous challenge to his critics to survive a round of boxing). It's quite good, and not for the squeamish.

There's also a trailer for Seed and a second disc containing the PC video game Advent Rising which I've never heard of but according to Wikipedia is a third-person, science fiction action-adventure game. Whoopdie-doo. I have no idea what its relation to Seed is.
The Verdict
Exploitative, gory, depressing, nihilistic. Seed is in no way entertaining or even "good" in the strictest sense in the word, but it's a step up for Boll and certainly watchable if you can stomach the grim tone and the violence.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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