In Dario Argento’s horror classic Suspiria (1977), the colour is often described as “another character” of the film. In Owen Long’s Seeds, it is not the colours but the sound design that becomes its own intrusive force. The film is eerily quiet in regards to dialogue, which only emphasises the sheer bombast of the music.
The film opens with an image of virtuous innocence: a young girl running through a field, singing a song to herself. This undercurrent is cut right through, and instantly subverted with a scene of depravity. What appears to be the same girl, except in a mask straight out of Eyes Wide Shut, half nude, while one man imbibes drugs of some sort and another watches from the corner, appearing to be some sort of Tyler Durden-esque apparition for our protagonist to project his deepest darkest desires onto.
Like this year’s Possum, Seeds appears to be about the lasting effects of abuse, and the magnitude of havoc those secrets can wreak within a family. However, Seeds wants to explore the damaged psyche not of the victim but the perpetrator. Instead of an examination of the effect of an older uncle engaging in sexual abuse with his underage niece, the film posits her as a willing (even seductive) Lolita type, not only completely unharmed by events (if it did indeed happen in the opening, and was not the result of a drug-induced dream/fantasy) but the initiator of them.
Uncle Marcus (Trevor Long) is the long-suffering character, a man harbouring a secret beneath leering eyes and a predatory smile. He takes in his nephew Spencer (Garr Long) and niece, Lily (Andrea Chen) who also happens to be the object of his fantasies, as a supposed favour to his brother, Michael (Chris McGarry). Michael exists only as the antithesis to Marcus - he is the man that Marcus “should” be like.
At night, he is visited by the literal monster that lives inside of him, the obvious manifestation of his guilty conscience. What is real and what is a psychic manifestation of his guilt, however, is unclear. Despite this, Long’s acting does not reach enough depth or true reflection to warrant any shred of empathy or even curiosity. We have no indication of his state of mind, outside of fantasising about his teenage niece in the bath, and the film is too eager to hammer home the human monster metaphor.
It is difficult to go down the avenues that Seeds sets out to travail - it is not a shocking film, nor a particularly immoral one. It is just, sadly, a boring one.
SEEDS / DIRECTOR: OWEN LONG / SCREENPLAY: STEVE WEISMAN / STARRING: TREVOR LONG, ANDREA CHEN, GARR LONG / CERT: TBC / RELEASE DATE: TBC