The Seed Shudder

The latest addition to Shudder’s original collection has fans highly polarized. Set in a remote luxury villa, with scenes many movie fans will recognize from the California desert, it’s a definite slow burn, which turns into a creature feature. Part Alien, part Rosemary’s Baby, it tells the story of three friends who are obsessed with social media and their followers. They decide to spend a weekend taking a luxurious vacation, witnessing a rare meteor shower. Our hero, the only character with any redeeming qualities, is the ”normal” girl, while the other two are influencers. As the weekend goes on, a strange creature, believed to be an alien from the meteor shower, slowly ingratiates itself into the lives of the three friends. 

The influencers are immediately unlikeable. Vapid, obnoxious, self-involved, but very good-looking. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to dislike them as much as I did, but after reading interviews with the director, the film as a whole is meant to slam social media. The constant focus on the impeccable bodies of the two influencers starts to wear thin, feeling quite misogynistic and objectifying. It also feels a bit hypocritical for a movie that’s trying to make such a strong argument against social media and its narcissism, by reiterating the idea that women are only worth their physical appearances.

The first truly disturbing moment is when our hero has a long, drawn-out kiss with the 15-year-old repair guy in exchange for him getting rid of the alien creature, and moreover, how much she seems to like it. This is clearly a ham-fisted comment on how social media influencers may claim to be repulsed by certain men, but secretly love the attention, but the fact that he is underage makes it much more unsettling. It’s actually implying that influencers have no problem with statutory r*pe and are titillated by underage teenagers.

The Seed 2022 Film Review

The strongest element is the art direction. The film is highly stylized, with creative cinematography. In addition to body horror, see highly stylized sex scenes, in which the influencers basically have something vaguely resembling intercourse with the creature, along with surreal flashes of the universe and whatever the influencer is feeling. After each influencer has sex with the alien, they seem to be in a trance the next day, full of pleasure and contentment. It’s only our hero, the one “normal” woman, who isn’t seduced by the alien, and ends up being the one to battle it to the death.

In interviews, the director has stated that he wanted to make a movie about the horrors of social media after watching the documentary The Social Dilemma. And he does make some strong points: the alien creature does give one pleasure and contentment, and that’s why people are attracted to it in the first place. It also gets its hooks in surreptitiously, on unsuspecting victims. The ending of the film also suggests that there’s no stopping it, which is a fair point about social media.

However, the overall message feels a bit heavy-handed, as well as antiquated. The influencers are so insufferable that it’s hard to root for them at all, let alone see oneself in them. The director claimed to be influenced by various horror classics, but those moments felt more like directly ripping them off. While I’m a big fan of the slow burn in horror, this felt more like wildly uneven pacing with no real payoff in the end. The constant, lowkey misogyny was also grating. However, the cinematography and art direction were the strongest elements of the film, and may be worth it for some viewers. The body horror was strong at times, with some truly disturbing images. Overall, not a great film, but visual stimulating enough for some viewers, with some takeaway messages about the dangers of the digital age.

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