Sydney Bollinger call The Seed a modern alien invasion with hot girls and nostalgic tropes.
[content warning: rape and sexual assault]
When Deidre (Lucy Martin), Heather (Sophie Vavasseur), and Charlotte (Chelsea Edge) arrive at Heather’s dad’s desert villa for a girl’s weekend, the plan is to just have a good time. Deidre, an influencer, has big dreams to document the entire weekend, much to Luddite Charlotte’s chagrin. Following a spectacular meteor shower—which Deidre is unable to broadcast to her many followers—something crashes into the in-ground pool. The appearance of the creature, which the women say “smells like ass” is the beginning of a downward spiral of events, which raises questions about female friendships, sexual ethics, and what to do when an alien takes over a friend’s brain.
Director and screenwriter Sam Walker’s The Seed (2021) sits pretty at the intersection of Alien (1979), The Neon Demon (2016), and Ingrid Goes West (2017). Despite the influences of the three aforementioned films, Walker fills his extra-terrestrial horror film with gore and an unabashed commitment to letting things be gross. The film doesn’t hold back, including unidentifiable black goo bleeding from their eyes and quick-gestation pregnancies (that truly look horrific).
"I think God took a shit in your pool."
The gross-outs and body horror certainly make the film fun to watch, but the film does have an information issue. Audiences are not privy to much information about Deidre, Heather, and Charlotte’s friendship, which makes understanding their relationship complicated. In many ways, it seems like the three women shouldn’t be friends; Deidre constantly belittles Charlotte for a minimum wage job and her anti-tech ways. Heather takes the side of whoever seems to be winning the current argument, and in general, the three of them do not seem to get along.
The acting by the film’s leads is superb. Martin especially shines as Deidre, her snappy, judgemental voice pitch perfect whether she’s upset about a useless phone, irritated with Heather’s concern over her father’s villa, or annoyed with Charlotte’s disinterest in all things social media. Martin’s acting is even more impressive post alien-impregnation; she exudes an eerie coolness that’s both believable for her character and unsettling.
Walker’s script would greatly benefit from further digging into these three characters and providing more context about their relationships to one another. In many ways, Charlotte is the most compelling and—spoiler alert—she is the film’s final girl, but is she only compelling because she has the common sense to make it to the end? Additionally, it remains unclear why the alien targeted Deidre and Heather, rather than Charlotte. Throughout the beginning of the film, Charlotte acted as the alien’s primary caretaker, but then the alien chose to impregnate Deidre and Heather with its eggs. While watching, it seems like a crime of opportunity, but upon further reflection, it may have more to do with the womens’ personalities.
Despite these holes, the film is fresh and modern, especially in the way it brings aliens back to the desert. In recent years, good alien stories have been hard to find, especially when discounting Marvel’s wide-ranging alien species. The Seed, though, is what we’ve needed in the vein of an alien invasion flick. The premise, while not wholly unique, pairs together nostalgia with a distinctly 2020s vapidity and sensibility.
On a higher level, The Seed deals with some fairly serious ethical and moral questions specifically concerning consent, reproduction, and the idea of killing for the greater good. The alien chooses “hot blondes” Deidre and Heather to impregnate, hypnotizing them with some kind of alien magic and then turning them into sexbots—the “sex” is difficult to watch. Whether intentionally or need, the film forces audiences to consider these acts in terms of human sexual ethics—and the results are...not great. It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the women are assaulted, Charlotte included. This is especially troubling because of the film’s lens on the sexual acts, which—except in the case of Charlotte—are played for pleasure.
Charlotte, as the only one in the group still left with her own mind, must make the decision to either kill her friends or let them live and birth aliens who will presumably take over the earth. Her decisions did not carry as much emotional weight as they could have, especially because other scenes in the film did play on audience emotions. Perhaps this is partially due to the complicated relationships between the women, but the choices seemed too easy.
Even still, The Seed is an entertaining romp from beginning to end. Looking away from the screen would be blasphemy. From the gorgeous cinematography to Martin’s comedic beats to the shriveled potato of an alien, the film might just be a new favorite.
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