I sat down to watch Owen Long’s debut feature Seeds expecting a straight up monster movie. What I got was a dark tale where the monster may or not be real. But there are definitely human monsters about.
Seeds opens with an idyllic beach scene, all sunshine and innocence before quickly getting very dark. Marcus (Trevor Long, Ozark) indulges in some drugged up sex games. Games that end with him calling his “fixer” (Kevin Breznahan) in the morning as there has been an “accident”. He then heads back to the family home to try and get his shit together. A nice big house by the beach with his brother close at hand if he needs help.
But things aren’t as he planned. His brother Michael (Chris McGarry) and wife Grace (Michelle Liu Coughlin) are in the midst of separating. Marcus soon becomes babysitter for their kids, young Spencer (Garr Long) and teenager Lily (Andrea Chen, 15 Til Midnight). But Marcus is not a well man, he’s fighting both a strange illness and his inner demons. Demons that are having very inappropriate thoughts about Lily. And then there’s the tentacled creature that seems to lurk, in strange places, waiting and watching.
At fist glance Seeds sounds a bit like a US take on Possum, especially with what we see of the creature in the poster. But the film takes a turn into other forms of uncomfortable as Lily has inappropriate thoughts of her own regarding Marcus. The result is like a Lovecraftian version of Lolita, with a side order of incestuous cravings.
Seeds isn’t an easy film to sit through, and I needed a shower between watching it and starting my review. It doesn’t get sleazy or exploitative with the material. It just extracts all of its natural discomfort and awkwardness. The scenes with the creature are actually the easiest thing to deal with.
For a first time director Long does a tremendous job with some tricky material. And when I say first I mean it, he doesn’t even have a previous short film listed on IMDB. Steven Weisman’s script is full of material that could have been nasty in the worst 1970 and 80s Eurotrash video nasty sort of way. But, aided by strong performances from his brother Trevor and Chen he’s made a serious, and seriously disturbing film. He even manages to make Seeds touching when it needs to be.
Seeds isn’t an easy film to watch. Some will be put off by the subject matter. Some by the pace and lack of monster scenes. But for those who stick it out, this will be a welcome slice of darkness.
Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment will release Seeds, in theaters September 13th and on VOD/DVD September 24th.