Seed: Unrated
R1 - America - Universal Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (13th September 2008).
The Film

Uwe Boll is a name that carries a lot of baggage between the film and video game communities, best known for taking video games and adapting them into terrible films that come close to becoming awesomely bad movies, but don't quite make it. But most of these have been bad video game adaptations, maybe it was just the confines of the base story, or just the ridiculousness that these movies were somehow supposed to be based on a game that they don't even resemble that gave Boll the bad wrap. I tried to clear my mind of my reservations about Boll and tried to watch his latest original effort "Seed" with an open mind, even though slamming the movie could someday get me in a boxing ring with Dr. Boll himself.

I quickly learned how rapidly my open mind began to close up around 20 minutes into the film as the story is not only tedious, but unoriginal and fairly bland considering how much gore is in the film (which I'll get to in a minute).? The movie mostly follows Detective Bishop (Michael Paré) a cop dedicated to hunting down and capturing the crazed serial killer Max Seed (Will Sanderson). The reign of terror finally appears to come to an end after Bishop leads a group of officers to capture Seed and is the only one to walk away, but with Seed who is quickly sent to death row. However once he is executed, Seed manages to survive 3 shocks at 15,000 volts and so is buried alive, even though supposedly he should be allowed to go free under state law (where Boll gets this idea I'm not sure). Of course Seed isn't done killing, so he digs his way up from underground and seeks vengeance against those who executed him, especially Bishop.

The writing and acting for the characters and any drama that is supposed to be in the movie is really poor, but sometimes this can work to a movie's advantage if it gets bad enough or if there are other redeeming qualities, but there isn't much to balance it out. Paré has a dream sequence where he sees Seed on a bus but no one will listen to him about how dangerous Seed is and he goes crazy, but Paré tries to sell the scene so hard that it just becomes unbearable and seems to last nearly 10 minutes. Bolls directing doesn't help out his writing either. The scene where Bishop is capturing Seed a rural home is lit only by the flashlights the actors are carrying, but the angles of the camera and the way the scenes are set up make it barely visible. There's potentially some good gore or shocking deaths, but it's so poorly lit that it's impossible to tell.

Which brings me to maybe the only interesting part of the movie: Boll's use of gore. I can only assume he's trying to make some statement about human brutality, but for gore hounds there are a couple of choice scenes including a head slammed through prison bars which is particularly choice. Yet his over use and fairly obvious CGI in creating the gore instead of using practical effects really takes the wind out of the sails of the film. Much of what makes gore in horror movies entertaining is the sense of wonder, one of the best instances probably in "An American Werewolf in London" (1981) where the transformation scene is fairly incredibly in terms of effects, and is brilliantly directed as well. In "Seed" there's a scene where Seed is torturing a woman by tapping her head with the butt of a hatchet, slowly increasing in intensity, but it becomes so CGI and just bad that it really ruins any serious point to be made or even make gorehounds happy.

Overall, Boll continues his tradition of terrible filmmaking and while there are a few brief shots that are fun they are no where near redeeming, the terrible acting, directing, writing and effects throughout the rest of the movie just make it overstay it's welcome, even though it's only about 90 minutes. There's nothing truly watchable or entertaining in the film, Boll isn't digging himself out of his rut anytime soon.

Video

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio the transfer is just okay, there's some noticeable grain, but the clarity and cleanliness of the film remains fairly well intact. The actual content however is bad, the lighting in the scenes seems to confuse a scene being poorly-lit with creating any kind of dramatic tension.

Audio

There are two audio tracks in English, one in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and the other in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The 5.1 sound track is another example of a good transfer with poor content. Most of the levels are good, though there's too much emphasis on the fairly hokey and overdramatic music. The track is otherwise fine, no real pops or problems outside of the poor writing/acting and cheesy music.
This disc does not feature any optional subtitles.

Extras

This 2-disc set is kind of odd including an audio commentary, a short film, a featurette, deleted scenes and a PC video game. Below is a closer look broken down per disc.

DISC ONE:

First up is the audio commentary by writer/director/producer Uwe Boll himself. He doesn?t do a lot of talking throughout the 90 minute movie, some scenes are almost entirely without commentary and just awkward pauses. He says some funny things like calling P.E.T.A. the animal shelter organization and claiming the triple execution and buried alive elements of the story are true. He sounds like he likes what he does which is fine. The track may be worth listening too for any Boll fans out there, whoever you are, but even for the haters it would take some serious dedication to sit through the silences and the fairly uninteresting commentary.

Next is a short film written and directed by Richard Gale called "Criticized" (2006) about a director who makes a terrible horror movie and then captures/tortures a critic. The short runs about 18 minutes and 10 seconds and is a clever addition to a Boll disc, honestly a lot better than the feature film and has problems of its own with some of the lines in the short, but the ending is worth a laugh and a short watch.

The "Behind-the-Scenes" featurette runs for 10 minutes and 1 second, but only covers the specific execution scene of seed that doesn't have any explanation and is just raw footage from the set. Fairly uninteresting, other than seeing how Boll tries to direct his actors and trying to see where the root of the problem is: his writing, directing or their acting.

Then the deleted scenes are all lumped together in a reel that runs 16 minute 14 seconds, here's an attempted breakdown of the scenes contained in it, most of which are just extensions of footage that Seed and Bishop view in the film:

- Car screeches near Don S. Davies (apparently he did the movie as a favor to his wife who did wardrobe) this runs for 6 seconds.
- Seed excercises to a record in an awkward manner, this runs for about 1 minute 38 seconds.
- The scene where Seed bashes in a woman's head runs with the temporary/unfinished CGI, which runs for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
- The complete version of the time-lapse starvation/decomposition videos that seed made and Bishop watches, featuring a cockroach, a rat, a dog, a baby and a woman which all together run for about 10 minutes 45 seconds.

There's also a theatrical trailer for "Seed" which runs for 1 minute 33 seconds.

Then there are bonus trailers which include:

- "Postal" runs for 1 minute and 36 seconds.
- "Dick: The Devil Dared Me To" runs for 1 minute 39 seconds.

DISC TWO:

This disc is simply a copy of "Advent Rising", a 2005 video game for the PC and Xbox. Why it's packaged with "Seed" I have no idea, I'm fairly sure that the game publishers have a relationship in some way, but why "Seed" and "Advent Rising" form a 2-disc set makes no sense whatsoever.

Overall

The Film: F Video: C+ Audio: B- Extras: F Overall: C-

 


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