Director/Screenplay – Uwe Boll, Producers – Uwe Boll, Daniel Clarke & Shawn Williamson, Photography – Mathias Neumann, Music – Jessica De Rooij, Visual Effects – Artifex Studios (Supervisor – Adam Stern), Special Effects Supervisor – John Sleep, Prosthetic Effects – Mastersfx, Inc, Production Design – Tink. Production Company – Boll KG Productions/Pitchblack Pictures.
Michael Paré (Detective Matt Bishop), Will Sanderson (Max Seed), Ralf Moeller (Warden Arnold Calgrove), Jodelle Micah Ferland (Emily Bishop), Andrew Jackson (Dr Parker Wickson), Michael Eklund (Executioner), Thea Gill (Sandra Bishop), Don S. Davis (Davis)
In the town of Sufferton, it is nearing the time of the execution of serial killer Max Seed. The prison warden warns that the electric chair to be used is unsafe and should be replaced but is ignored. The execution goes ahead but fails to kill Seed due to the faulty equipment. Aware that state law requires that a prisoner must be set free if they do not die within 45 seconds, Detective Matt Bishop and the prison officials conspire to bury Seed while he is still alive. However, Seed digs his way up out of the ground. He then heads off on a fresh trail of slaughter after those responsible for burying him.
Seed is another film from Uwe Boll, who in recent years has gained a reputation as the world’s worst director. Undeterred by the vast amount of negative press that accrues around his name particularly in the blogosphere, Boll is a prolific director, often making 2-3 films a year. Most of Boll’s bad reputation centres around his adaptations of popular videogames with the likes of House of the Dead (2003), Alone in the Dark (2005), BloodRayne (2005), Postal (2007) and Far Cry (2008). These gained an extraordinary ire from fans, although I am prepared to defend Uwe Boll as being nothing more than a routine director of direct-to-dvd genre material. Those who call Uwe Boll the world’s worst director clearly haven’t seen enough low-budget genre films. (A full list of Uwe Boll’s genre films is at the bottom of the page).
Seed is Uwe Boll’s first original, non-videogame based effort since 2002. It is Boll visiting the fad for serial killers come back from the electric chair that we had circa 1989 with efforts such as The Chair (1989), The Horror Show (1989), Shocker (1989), The First Power (1990) and subsequent stragglers like Judge and Jury (1996) and Fallen (1998).
Seed is also Uwe Boll having climbed aboard the Torture Porn fad of the late 00s after the success of films like Saw (2004) and Hostel (2005). The film opens with a disclaimer: “Warning: This movie contains graphic and disturbing footage of real events. We have incorporated this footage into the context of the film to make a statement about humanity!” One is not exactly sure which scenes this is referring to – the ones with Seed torturing victims looks like standard filmed footage, although there are what appear to be a handful of scenes of animals being tortured and killed. This is something that, given the context of being placed inside a film like Seed, hits a decidedly sordid note. Surely, the addition of footage of animals being killed to a film that serves up scenes of brutality and torture for our delectation is Torture Porn in the most literal sense of the meaning.
For much of at least the first 20 minutes, Seed never seems to be going anywhere as a story. This is taken up by scenes of cops sitting around the station watching videos of Seed torturing victims, intercut with the hulking killer sitting in his cell with his face covered by a sack and flashbacks to the police venturing into the killer’s property to investigate. The investigation of the property by torchlight, offering subliminal glimpses of a house of horrors, is something that has well and truly become a cliche by now. Most of the other elements that transpire – the killer returned from the execution chamber to hunt down the investigating detective, the brutality of his trail of killings – seem tiresomely hackneyed genre features. Certainly, Uwe Boll does reasonably well in terms of depicting a dark, dank mood of subterranean chill but his storytelling is dull and formulaic.
Where Uwe Boll places most of his emphasis in Seed is in serving up scenes that hold a reasonable level of brutality:- the killer appearing from under Michael Eklund’s bed and then biting his lip off; Ralf Moeller impaled with a pole through his stomach. The most brutal scene is one where the killer has a housewife bound up in a chair and Boll’s camera sits in medium wide-angle watching as the killer starts gently tapping her face with a hammer, which become more severe blows that build up to him whacking at her, battering her brains out and splattering the room with blood. It is one of the most brutal scenes that one has scene in a horror film in some time.
The film also reaches an incredibly grim ending where [PLOT SPOILERS] the killer threatens to kill Michael Paré’s wife Thea Gill and daughter Jodelle Micah Ferland unless Paré shoots himself, the killer then shoots the wife as Paré wavers, before Paré shoots himself in the head trying to spare the daughter, with the last image of the film being the daughter locked in the cell with Paré’s dead body.
Uwe Boll produced a sequel Seed 2: The New Breed (2014).
Uwe Boll’s other genre films are:- the serial killer film Sanctimony (2000); the backwoods horror Blackwoods (2002); the high school shooting rampage film Heart of America: Home Room (2002); the zombie film House of the Dead (2003); the monster movie/videogame adaptation Alone in the Dark (2005); the vampire hunting videogame adaptation BloodRayne (2005) and its sequels Bloodrayne: Deliverance (2007) and Bloodrayne: The Third Reich (2011); the fantasy adventure In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007) and its sequels In the Name of the King: Two Worlds (2011) and In the Name of the King 3 (2014); Postal (2007), a surreal bad taste satire about a shooting rampage; the videogame adaptation Far Cry (2008); Rampage (2009) about a man on a shooting spree and its sequels Rampage: Capital Punishment (2014) and Rampage: President Down (2016); Stoic (2009) about sadism and brutality in a prison; The Final Storm (2010) about an apocalyptic storm and the arrival of a mysterious stranger; the gonzo bad taste comedy Blubberella (2011) about an overweight vampire heroine; Assault on Wall Street/Bailout: The Age of Greed (2013) about a man on a shooting spree against bankers; and a segment of the horror anthology The Profane Exhibit (2013). Boll has also produced the ghost story They Wait (2007), Alone in the Dark II (2008), Zombie Massacre (2012), Legend of the Red Reaper (2013), Prisoners of the Sun (2013), Morning Star (2014), Viy (2014), Anger of the Dead (2015), Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015) and Jack Goes Home (2016). Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story (2019) is a surprisingly insightful documentary about Boll and his career.