The Seed is the type of movie that should play in theaters and drive-ins at midnight. It’s one of those 2 am sort of films. No, it’s not a movie that’s out to change the genre or do anything wildly unique and different. But it’s an alien creature feature that’s a whole lot of fun with a bombastic final 30 minutes. Think of The Thing meets Species with a dash of The Color Out of Space and Society’s grotesque orgy scenes thrown into the mix.
There’s plenty of room for films like Get Out and The Witch in the genre, but sometimes you just want to turn your brain off. Additionally, The Seed boasts some of the gnarliest special effects I’ve seen in a while. And while this film has plenty of gross-out moments and a little bit of schlock, it’s not without a bit of commentary, specifically regarding social media and influencer culture.
Two Influencers and a Bleeding Heart
The film follows three young women who venture to the Mojave desert to witness a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower. They spend most of their time outside, lounging about, dressed in bikinis, and later whining when there’s no wifi signal. I suppose at least two of them don’t have jobs beyond uploading content. Something odd lands in the pool, however, and rocks their world, literally. Eventually, a creature that looks like a cross between a bear cub and an armadillo emerges, wailing and crying throughout the night.
Lucy Martin plays the vapid influencer Deidre, who’s always holding up her phone, posing for pictures. In fact, she nearly misses the meteor shower because she’s too busy trying to live stream it, staring at her screen instead of the gorgeous night sky. Everything is about the likes. Sophie Vavasseur plays Heather, another influencer who essentially does whatever Deidre says. While not as mean as the ringleader, she, too, lives for the clicks. She wants what Deidre has, an apparently massive and loyal fanbase. For Heather and Deidre, their entire being, including their income, depends on increasing subscribers. They only want to witness the meteor shower to capture it on their phones.
Charlotte (Chelsea Edge) remains the oddball of the trio, a young woman who doesn’t use social media. I’m not even sure she has a phone, go figure. It’s unclear why she even hangs out with the other two, Deidre especially, other than the fact they were all childhood besties. But shouldn’t Charlotte have outgrown that by now? Why does she put up with such torment? Deidre constantly disses Charlotte, even joking at one point that if anyone wants to contact her, they’ll have to send a telegram. Later, she accuses Charlotte of weaknesses, refusing to do and take what she wants, hence why she’s stuck at a minimum wage job. Ouch!
When the weird creature crashes to Earth, of course, Charlotte wants to protect it. At first, it does look cute and has a face that looks like an otter. She even wraps it in a blanket and feeds it one of Deidre’s protein shakes, to her dismay, of course. How can such a small creature pose a threat? However, this is a horror movie. So of course, an alien that crash lands on Earth and smells funky can’t be a good thing. It has sinister attentions, evil and perverted intentions. This movie ain’t for the prude. That’s for sure.
The Seed’s Weirdness and Alien Orgies
The Seed spends a good chunk of its first half establishing the dynamics between the female trio. Deidre is the mean-spirited ringleader, obsessed with herself and attracting more followers. Heather lives in Deidre’s shadow, while Charlotte is the bleeding-heart do-gooder. There’s even a hilarious scene between her and a 15-year-old garden boy with horrible acne. For him to remove the smelly creature, he demands Charlotte kiss him, despite his awful acne and age. The oddball sort of comedy works and often feels like a B-movie. You certainly get a sense that it’s been some time since Charlotte’s been smooched.
But the last 30 minutes get weird. Really, really weird. The alien suddenly rapes the women, unleashing gross tentacles. Some of the scenes harken back to Society’s closing minutes. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. The alien possession, if you can call it that, worsens Deidre and Heather’s most superficial qualities. At one point, Deidre scarfs down a plate of spaghetti and then dashes in the backyard to perform planks and jumping jacks. Here, I suppose you can read the creature as a metaphor for vapid consumerism, influencer culture, and obsession with self-image. But it’s never heavy-handed. The absurdity of it all makes it work.
At its core, this is just a creature feature that isn’t keen on any sort of social or political agenda. Director Sam Walker isn’t out to upend the genre and toss something totally new into the mix. In fact, that’s part of what makes this movie so much fun. It’s a wild good time with an inventive creature at its center. Sure, it doesn’t paint influencer culture in a positive light. Deidre is a horrible, horrible character, but this film doesn’t preach. Yes, she whines when the internet goes down and says, “If I don’t post, I don’t get paid,” but it’s the little alien dude who steals most of this film. Deidre and Heather especially take a backseat to it. You don’t feel bad when their eyes suddenly start leaking black goo, another effect of the alien’s power.
Charlotte, however, is a good contrast. She’s the film’s moral center and a welcome relief from Deidre’s constant self-absorbed comments. In 2022, you really feel for a young woman who says that she doesn’t desire likes because they’re “invasive,” while her friends refuse to put the phone down for more than two minutes. To add, Charlotte makes for a plucky final girl of sorts, picking up a wrench to eventually defend herself against the creature while trying to save her friends from alien impregnation and possession. If there’s ever a sequel to this film, I hope Charlotte returns, mega wrench in hand, to do battle against an army of otter-faced aliens looking for vapid hosts to impregnate.
Is The Seed Out of This World or Nay?
Overall, there’s a lot I liked about The Seed. I can see myself returning to this film sometime over the summer with beers and pizza in hand. It’s a drive-in type of movie to put on with your friends and laugh at some of the lines and gore. Though it doesn’t have the sort of existential dread of Carpenter’s The Thing or Color Out of Space, it does have impressive special effects and off-kilter humor.
While not quite out of this world, The Seed is a fun time. Part takedown of influencer culture and part alien creature feature, it’s not afraid to lean into some of its B-movie influences, especially in the third act. I’m team Charlotte all the way, and I’d return for a sequel. I only ask that it include even more screeching aliens. After all, this is an influencer-based culture now, so finding more hosts shouldn’t be too hard.
Brian Fanelli is a poet and educator who also enjoys writing about the horror genre. His work has been published in The LA Times, World Literature Today, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Horror Homeroom, and elsewhere. On weekends, he enjoys going to the local drive-in theater with his wife or curling up on the couch, and binge-watching movies with their cat, Giselle.