My wife is extremely hesitant to sit down and watch a horror movie and will only do so generally after I answer a critical question for her: “Are there any jump scares?” So let me begin by saying writer-director Barnaby Clay’s The Seeding does not have jump scares because it doesn’t need them.
The film starts with Wyndham (Scott Haze) driving out to the desert to photograph a solar eclipse. While returning to his vehicle, he notices a young boy huddled under the shade of a tree and offers him help. Wyndham ends up following the kid for quite a distance until the boy becomes agitated and uncooperative; something doesn’t add up. Wyndham gives up and backtracks to find his car. But as the sun drops behind the horizon, the man loses his sense of direction.
Hearing a woman singing in the distance, Wyndham follows the voice, which leads him to a small shack in the center of a depression in the desert. He descends two sets of ladders of questionable integrity to reach the crater floor and approaches the shack for help. The woman, Alina (Kate Lyn Sheil), offers a meal, water, and a place to sleep for the night. The man reluctantly stays the night and awakes in the morning to view the crater in the light of day. However, Wyndham discovers the parentless boy isn’t alone but one of a cast of other lonely boys scouring the desert for lost hikers. Alina’s demeanor and the actions of the ragtag boys become exponentially stranger and more alarming as time passes.
“…Wyndham discovers the parentless boy isn’t alone…”
The Seeding doesn’t rely on jump scares to frighten its viewers because the plot and characters are devilishly creepy on their own. This sets itself apart from many horror titles in that it is distinctly realistic. You can imagine these events really happening. This realism makes everything that unfolds all the more frightening. Much like one of my favorite horror movies, The Strangers, this film slowly builds with an increasing sense of dread and realism as it nears its conclusion.
Clay employs a vintage 1970s horror look and feel throughout the 100-minute runtime. The images on camera are close-up and visceral. The framing constantly generates a feeling of claustrophobia, marrying perfectly with the plot. There is a sun-soaked, warm, hazy hue that envelops many scenes. There is violence, gore, and nudity throughout, and those scenes are totally disturbing. The practical effects are an extra added layer of realism to what you’re seeing on screen. Furthermore, the entire cast is excellent and brings their uniquely unsettling characters to life in a believable manner.
The plot and setting of The Seeding, though well done, don’t bring anything new to the genre. Still, the filmmaker borrows ideas from horror flicks like The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre while ensuring his feature stands on its own two feet. The flick sprinkles in some psychological ponderings along the way on the true meaning of freedom and happiness.
The Seeding is a welcome addition to any horror fan’s watchlist. It will leave you thinking and thoroughly disturbed.
"…the plot and characters are sufficiently devilishly creepy..."