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Seeds (2018)

When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desires.


One of the many things I like about Indie film is that it allows for film makers to push the boundaries of storytelling, which is exactly what writer / director Owen Long (debut feature) has done in 2018's Seeds. The film is a metaphorical nightmare - it's a film that traverses the three act structure like a serial killer stalking the backlot of a movie set. Make sense? No? Good.

Seeds works as a dark masterclass - Marcus lives alone, he has a bizarre, lustful, relationship with his young niece, and things get out of hand when the two of them are thrust together. A rift in Marcus' brother's marriage causes his niece and nephew - Lily and Spencer - to come and stay with him in his remote seaside house. And there are monsters there. That's as far as I can go with the plot without getting too spoilery.

It's a slow burn affair, driven heavily on the emotional state of the characters, which of course means that we rely on two things, the writing, and the acting. Writer Owen Long and co Steven Weisman (feature debut) have created a 'weird' story (I know a little about weird bent literary) - in a film that is as terrifying as it is interesting, in which there are no set piece action scenes and no jump scares, just raw story. And as good as that is, it falls to those in front of the camera to pull it off, so to speak. Marcus, who carries the film in it's entirety, is played by Trevor Long (Low Winter Sun). Long plays the role to a tee, with a fine portrayal of a man on the edge of his sanity. His niece - and foil within the story is played by Andrea Chen (Boyhood). While I don't recall actual ages being mentioned in the film, Lily is supposed to be around fifteen (at a guess). Chen was thirty when she played the part, but you wouldn't know.

Obviously it gets pitch black dark pretty damn quick.

Watching Marcus skirt around his feelings for a minor is a hard watch - and the film is a hard sell. It makes no gripe in the fact that the protagonist is slightly deranged from the first scene - and that is a fine thread played throughout the film. Consequently the film treads some difficult boards. Long and Chen are extremely good in the roles, and the film is deeply disturbing.

It's certainly not a horror film for everyone - I can't reiterate that enough - but it is a well paced film, the sparse use of CG is expertly done. But yes, the film does walk a knife edge of what a lot of viewers will find palatable. It's emotional, and a wealth of talent is to be found here. Not for the gorehounds, nor the shock brigade - Seeds is a powerful film, and terrifying for a multitude of reasons.

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