25th Aug2018

Frightfest 2018: ‘Seeds’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Trevor Long, Andrea Chen, Garr Long, Kevin Breznahan, Chris McGarry, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Adrian Enscoe, Shannon Hartman, John Emigh, Abby Mills, Lowry Marshall | Written by Owen Long, Steven Weisman | Directed by Owen Long

seeds-poster

When his increasingly depraved behaviour 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. Could something be underneath the bed, lurking? Is he losing his mind or has something terrible burrowed deep within him? Incubating. Waiting until the climate is right. Marcus must fight to save his crumbling sanity and protect Lily, his beloved niece from a monster that lies in wait.

Is there or isn’t there a monster in the house? Or is the “monster” a manifestation of the monster that is Marcus, a man whose escapes the troubles of one sexual act and walks right into another… That’s the question Seeds poses.

Form the get-go, Seeds often puts the audience in the shoes, or rather eyes, of Marcus – our gaze as his, his desires as ours. It makes for uncomfortable viewing, putting the audience on edge which only makes us empathise with Marcus more, as we become as uneasy as he is. But Lily’s behaviour isn’t that clearcut either. She asks questions of her relationship with Marcus, even asking him to touch her, teasing him with her own sexuality. She comes across as emotionally fragile as he is – offering him hope that something might happen between them. Which only exacerbates the situation, adding even more to the uneasy milieu of the film.

But is any of that real? Seeds is constantly blurring the edges of its own reality as writer/director Owen Long thinks nothing of blurring the lines between reality and imagination, man and [literal] monster. Then there are the flashbacks, to a young Lily on the beach. Flashbacks which show a young girl at play, enjoying life but at the same time we, the audience, knows there’s something not quite right. The flashbacks are more dreamlike than you’d expect, almost “erotic” in nature. Are these the memories of a burgeoning desire of Marcus’ for an underage Lily or a reflection of his current deisre towards her? Or was that the tipping point for Marcus, the time he realised his deviancy?

And just what about that spider-legged like creature that keeps crawling the floors of Marcus’ bedroom? Or Marcus’ drug-dealing “fixer”, who seems to show up in the most inopportune times with knowledge of Marcus’ innermost thoughts and fears? Questions, questions, questions. With answers that are not spoonfed. Instead the answers are demanded of the audience, it’s up to you to make up your mind about Marcus, Lily and the monster…

The kind of horror that uses humanities foibles and fragilities, to reflect on just how horrific humans – and the human condition – can be, Seeds is a powerful, oftentimes uncomfortable watch. Not so much a journey into madness but rather a journey from madness into insanity.

**** 4/5

Seeds screened at Frightfest Friday August 24th, with a second screening on Saturday 25th.

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