I'm really beginning to think there's something very wrong with filmmaker Uwe Boll. I don't mean that as an attack on the guy because, frankly, there's a little something "wrong" with most of us. And I'm not just talking about Mr. Boll's (VERY) well-documented ineptitude when it comes to filmmaking. Heck, we're all inept at a lot of activities -- only hopefully not the one you get paid for. Until now I've been more than content to witness each of this man's films and play along with the game: We all know he's a hack who churns out cheesy movies. So what? The planet's loaded with guys like that. (Ulli Lommel is a MUCH worse director than Uwe Boll, for example.) Plus, to Boll's credit, he's always been able to make those truly "fun-bad" movies that are simply (and simplistically) fun to watch. I chuckled through House of the Dead, slapped my forehead repeatedly through Alone in the Dark, marveled at the wackiness of BloodRayne, giggled through the tackiness of Dungeon Siege, nodded off contentedly through BloodRayne 2, and then finally got my fill on Postal.
By Scott Weinberg
And now comes SEED: Uwe Boll's first shot at a true-blue, hardcore, no punches pulled kinda horror movie. Boy does it suck. Right about here is where Boll would love for me to fly off on some sort of shocked and appalled tangent, stunned and dazed by the brazen NASTINESS of Seed -- but he'd have to be a better filmmaker for me to do that. His bag of shocker tricks includes precisely two items: An opening credits sequence that he got from PETA, in which animals are skinned alive -- and a long, uncut sequence in which a woman is bludgeoned to death with a hammer. The first gimmick is so pointless and transparent that it doesn't come close to working. All you're left thinking is ... dude, is THIS the only way you can scare me? Sad. Regarding the second scene, well, to call it amateurish would be a crotch-kick to all the hard-working amateurs out there. In this scene Boll seems to be shooting for some sort of Irreversible-style sequence of unremitting ugliness. Instead it comes off like a few bored pre-teens who are working on their own Freddy sequel.
Filling in the long and arid space between these two sequences is a plot that goes a little like this: A serial killer who has claimed 666 victims (seriously, Uwe?) is killed in the electric chair, only he doesn't stay dead and he comes back to kill those who buried him alive. The first half of the movie is a painfully tedious (and woefully lit) flashback that details how MAX SEED was captured, and the second half delivers the stalk and stab body count stuff. And if I'm being totally fair I'd mention that the flick offers two pretty slick and effective kill scenes: One involves a very dumb cop and a booby-trapped pick-axe, and the other focuses on a jail cell and one unfortunate face. But two half-decent jolts are hardly worth the slog through Uwe Boll's ugly & angry side. It's as if the guy's bitterness at being treated so poorly by film-watchers has been distilled into pure celluloid form, and the result almost feels like the movie version of cancer. When Seed isn't being mercilessly boring, it's wading into pits of pointless hostility. Say what you will about Saw 3 and Hostel 2, but compared to this malignant wreck, those (yes, harsh and brutal) horror flicks have the subtext of Shakespeare and the moral compass of Superman.
And I simply can't believe that this is the best gig that Michael Pare can find. I mean that as a compliment. If the '80s star can turn out a hard-working and watchable performance in junk like this, then I say it's time he gets a promotion on the B-movie actor food chain. As the only halfway-sentient person in the whole flick, Pare brings a small but very welcome sense of, I dunno, HUMANITY to the proceedings. There's not a damn thing wrong with making your living on B-movies, but this guy deserves better material. (He also needs to lose Uwe Boll's phone number.) Nobody else in the cast warrants much of a mention, and they'd probably thank me for simply moving on. And damn Uwe for putting little Jodelle Ferland through the shit she goes through in this film. She's already survived Silent Hill and The Messengers, but Seed might be the one that scars the kid for life.
As far as the horror fans go, they'll have forgotten about Seed by the time the next horror flick comes out
And still you want extras? Yikes, OK. We get an audio commentary from Mr. Boll, in which he clearly TRIES to articulate the logic behind such random baseness -- but I think it might be more "lip service" than "logic." The guy wanted to splice some horrific PETA footage onto the front of his film, in an effort to gain some controversy and infamy, because that's one way to sell horror DVDs. But he won't own up to that, so we're treated to some rambling explanations about how all humans are evil and look what we're capable of and obviously this somehow ties into a dreary slasher movie that cribs directly from SHOCKER, which is one of Wes Craven's lamest movies ever. (Gee, now I'm the one giving a commentary.) You'll tune out on Uwe's anecdotes long before he does, but that doesn't stop the guy from bailing on the commentary fifteen minutes before the movie ends. We also get a 16-minute block of deleted scenes which I sped through on the 16x setting. NOTE: If you ever need multiple sequences in which cockroaches die and then decay, you can find them on the Seed DVD. Followed by that is a 10-minute section of random on-set footage that shows us nothing, and the Seed trailer. Inside the DVD is an insert that has Uwe hawking his ring-tones. Yes seriously.
And get this: Imprisoned on this wretched DVD is the VERY COOL short film Criticized by Richard Gale. On one hand I want to congratulate Richard for getting this nifty horror short onto a Vivendi (aka Universal) DVD, but on the other ... I sort of feel bad too. If you're a devoted horror freak who simply has to rent Seed, no matter how bad you're sure it is (and I respect your commitment to the genre), then do yourself a favor and watch Criticized before you return Seed to the video store with a shamed look on your face.