September 9, 2019 Seeds (Movie Review)
Trevor Long, star of the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix Drama Ozark, stars in Seeds, a lush Horror-Thriller set on the New England coast. Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment deliver the film to select theaters on Friday, September 13th, 2019, before it arrives to VOD and DVD on Tuesday, September 24th.
After a night of debauchery ends in tragedy, mild-mannered Marcus Milton (Long: Low Winter Sun series, Ozark series) finds solace at his family’s coastal New England estate. He sets about enjoying the solitude of the sprawling home and trying to make peace with his inner demons, until his healing silence is interrupted by his brother, Michael (Chris McGarry: Across the Universe 2007, Lawless 2012), and a family emergency. Soon, Uncle M finds himself responsible for his estranged niece and nephew.
Now a beautiful, budding teen, Lily (Andrea Chen: 15 Till Midnight 2010, Boyhood 2014) is a curious coquette, while her gentle little brother Spencer (Garr Long in his acting debut) has begun to show psychological symptoms that link back to his parents’ troubled marriage. The arrival of the pair in Marcus’ home awakens something dark, a beast that lurks in the shadows and has a hungry eye aimed at Lily. Haunted, Marcus must wage war against the blackness that lurks around every corner if he hopes to protect his beloved niece from the monster that lies within.
Clocking in at 90 minutes, Seeds marks the directorial debut of the exceptionally talented Owen Long, and was co-written by the director and first-time writer Steven Weisman, who previously worked on such notable productions as 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and 2017’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. It also features the acting talents of Kevin Breznahan (Alive 1993, Winter’s Bone 2010), Uatchet Jin Juch (Infinity Polar Bear 2014, Seoul Searching 2015), Michelle Liu Coughlin (The OA series, Limitless series), Adrian Enscoe (Groove 2017, Dickinson series), Shannon Hartman (Exeter 2015, Some Freaks 2016), and John Emigh in his acting debut.
It’s difficult to place Seeds into any box, genre-wise, but the generic categorization of Horror-Thriller very loosely fits. To further explain, its screenplay draws heavy influences from both Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella The Metamorphosis and Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita. Coupled with the fact that this is a story that is fraught with metaphor, Seeds is perfect for any film-goers who are also lovers of classic literature. However, due to the heavily implied ephebophilia in the film, it’s likely to stir some controversy with certain audiences—so viewer be warned.
What that all means is that Seeds is a Gothic Horror set in the sunshine and steeped in dark symbolism. From the use of praying mantises to the troublesome wiring throughout the home, Director Long utilizes endless avenues of nuance to relay his story. Add to this show-stopping natural beauty and stunning architecture that are highlighted by Eun-ah Lee’s (A Song Still Inside 2013, Rich Kids 2018) exceptional cinematography, and you have a film that looks like a dream even as it details a nightmare.
Dread Central deemed the film a “Kafkaesque nightmare,” and, as usual, they are spot on. One cannot help but to make comparisons between the ill-fated Gregor Samson and Marcus Milton. Giving birth to the monster that lurks inside of his character’s mind, Trevor Long delivers a stand-out performance as the mild-mannered and soft-spoken uncle who is fighting an unseen menace. His performance perfectly toes the line between depraved miscreant and politely troubled, soft-spoken uncle-next-door, leaning more heavily toward the latter. Which is to say that Long’s Marcus could be any of our neighbors, though he is struggling with an affliction that (hopefully) lurks inside very few.
Chen is equally magnificent in her role as the niece-next-door Lily, a beautiful young woman who is pirouetting into her sexuality and beginning to curiously explore. An instigator who seemingly does not understand the fire that she is stoking, Chen flawlessly brings her character to life. Not entirely a Lolita, though not exactly innocence personified, Lily is a unique conundrum who strikes the match that is the catalyst for her uncle’s downfall.
A tale of temptation and monsters, Seeds asks its viewers to delve deeper and explore beyond its surface. Through the use of metaphor and symbolism, along with respectful nods to some of literature’s finest, it weaves a unique story that is admittedly not what many viewers will expect and yet wholly satisfying in its haunting nature. Surprisingly human in its nightmarish horrors, beautifully-crafted and intelligent, Cryptic Rock give Seeds 4.5 of 5 stars.