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Ever since House of the Dead, I've actively sought out Uwe Boll films
to see just how bad they are going to be. With follow-ups Alone in the
Dark and Bloodrayne, there was an endless stream of badness to enjoy.
I'm intrigued as to how the films fail to work despite there being a
decent budget (low in Hollywood terms, but plenty to produce something
effective), some occasional attempts at interesting camera work and
genuine Hollywood talent involved. In all the films, the scripts are
undeniably terrible, and as an audience you're never drawn in because
at no stage do you care about anyone involved or anything they do. On
top of the poor script, there is usually CGI and sound design that is
quite simply not up to scratch and which therefore jars with an
audience used to Hollywood standards.
It was with this view that i went along for the unmissable fun of a cinematic double bill of new Uwe Boll films at London's Frightfest. Having had Grindhouse pulled from UK release thanks to the bemused US reaction, 'Double Boll' presented the next best thing - 2 actual B- movies in a row. Postal came first and marks Boll's first professional foray into deliberate comedy, not very successfully, but that's another review... Up second, was Seed - as Uwe himself said, a film aiming for no sense of fun at all. It's essentially Uwe's entry into the current gorno/torture porn fad, and was partly motivated by the likes of Hostel not being as harsh as they were claiming.
The biggest shock i had during the film was when the credits rolled and i realised i'd just had an emotional reaction to an Uwe Boll movie that wasn't amusement or boredom. I had actually cared about the characters and had the distinct feeling i'd just watched a proper horror film.
Don't get me wrong, this film is by no means great, but it IS, unlike all the other Boll movies, a film that you can watch on a par with other Hollywood b-grade horrors. With films like Hostel you've got Eli Roth trying to make films as harsh as the old grindhouse/video nasty films of the 70s and early 80s, but Seed would actually be more at home in that era. It's no Texas Chainsaw, but it fits in with the original Toolbox Murders, Maniac or Nightmares in a Damaged Brain - films that presented real nastiness in a way that leaves you feeling, well, seedy. Like those films, the big moments are morally questionable - many will find the opening scenes showing real-life animal cruelty (footage obtained from PETA) too heavy with too little purpose, but personally I found they gave the film real edge - you lose your safety net of Hollywood R-rated violence and feel genuine revulsion. A later scene is a standout for on-screen nastiness and could have become one of the all time roughest gore moments if it wasn't partly let down by a bit of ropey CGI work. The ending too was a nice surprise and something that mainstream horrors rarely go for these days.
Boll-haters (and there's a planet full of those) are still going to find faults with Seed, and there are many, but it is in a class above all his previous output, and gives me hope that he will one day turn around his (undeniably impressive) poor reputation and produce material that is not only acceptable, but actually genuinely enjoyable. If he could just get his hands on a really great script who knows what could happen...
Did we just watch the same film? Perhaps there were two "Seeds" made in
2008...seriously...were there? Bottom 100! I have watched many films
and if you check my voting history, you will see I have voted and
commented on many, from Kubrick to Haneke. Now I am not for one second
saying this film is "Funny Games" or "A Clockwork Orange" - but it sure
as hell ain't one of the bottom 100 films ever made! Taken for what it
is (a Horror flick) I actually found it quite good. Some quite gripping
scenes and an eerie soundtrack (I actually kept thinking someone was
knocking on my door). Sure, the animal cruelty (opening minute) I could
have done without, but then Henake used a similar opening in "Benny's
I rate this film 6/10. It's no Rosemary's Baby, but it blows Rob Zombie's Halloween (and many other so called "Horror" films out of the water). The stop motion decay scenes were quite original too.
Just to give you an idea of my tastes (in horror), I liked the Devil's Rejects; Dawn of the Dead (original); Funny Games (original and remake); Texas Chainsaw (original) and of course, Rosemary's Baby.
Seed is not a patch on those (obiously), but it really isn't a bad film in my humble opinion.
Maybe I did watch a different film.
Consider for a moment what it must be like to be Uwe Boll. Somewhere,
perhaps in those places that Jack Nicholson said 'you don't talk about
at parties', Boll knows that David Lean had head lice as a child that
had more talent for film making than him. Gore Whores, metal-heads and
the socially dysfunctional may bump into him on the circuit and tell
him otherwise but general audiences find the Teutonic helmsman's output
so bereft of originality, wit or imagination that he's become the
internet's bogeyman an online discursive synonym for photochemical
excrement. Boll does his best to ride over these naysayers, exploiting
tax credits available in Germany and Canada to keep working and raising
money from a network of dentists as Zero Mostel did with old ladies in
The Producers. The difference being that Mostel's character knew he was
making bowel fill. Maybe Uwe knows it too.
Such is the level of hostility toward each new 'Bollbuster' that IMDb patrons sabotage their ratings by voting 1 before they've seen it. Boll's attempts at silencing his critics by challenging them to a boxing match and knocking them out just made them more determined. Indeed he's probably the only filmmaker that's boosted thesaurus sales as critics search for inventive ways of describing garbage.
This onslaught has made Uwe a very thick skinned man, so much so that he must feel like he's wrapped in a carpet, but one who feels as if he's bullied by the entire world. Like most people in that situation he lashes out, determined to upset as many people as possible with the memory of a tearful evening holding Variety's review of House of the Dead, never too far from the surface. This 'I know you are but what am I' strategy for reclaiming the initiative produced the blunt satire of Postal, which attempted to napalm the dissenters with jokes about 9/11, Christian fundamentalism, Jihad, Nazism and paedophilia. Such a litany of invective requires a satirist with the mind of Peter Cook and the visual imagination of Chris Morris but the closest Boll gets to either man is the o in their surname.
In Seed, shot back to back with the aforementioned game adaptation, Boll is back with a story about a sadistic serial murderer (is there any other kind?) who gets the chair only for two attempts to fail in permanently curtailing all signs of life. Mindful of the fictional law that says anyone still alive after 3 attempts must go free, though if you'd been fried with that much electricity why would you want to, they pronounce him legally dead and bury him, only for the disgruntled killer to resurface and begin a whirlwind tour of his gaolers.
Boll begins his 'exploration of nihilistic rage' with Seed watching footage of animals being tortured for experimental purposes. From there we're treated to the killer's stock in trade kidnapping dogs, babies and grown women and allowing them to starve to death on camera only to become maggot food. We're invited to reflect on what a depraved race of amoral meat sacks we all are our inhumanity to each other and our fellow creatures acting as a lighting rod that acts as a catalyst for the most disgusting vestiges of the human condition. Yes, we're worthless, gormless sadists and worse than that, we won't give Uwe a good rating on the IMDb. In short, humanity is bunk.
Of course you might think that Uwe relies on our worst excesses for his livelihood and with that in mind it's a bit of a bipolar piece, on one hand hating its audience and positively basting itself in the sour milk of human kindness the milk that poor old Boll has had to drink for so long, while simultaneously whipping out its member and inviting those with a pornographic lust for on screen depravity to marvel at its sheer arse splitting girth.
The result says nothing about society and its discontents, more the corrosive effect bad press is having on its director. Poor Uwe is obviously a very angry man one scene in which a poor woman gets her brains hammered to a pulp while tied to a chair, no doubt a surrogate for his own fantasy's about dispatching various web critics. That it's there but takes an avant-garde approach by failing to be attached to any kind of narrative thread, shows that Boll is a pornographer whose happy to engage with the blood lust of his audience and knows that plot is surplus to requirements. He's made a film which is competently shot but utterly desolate. "I wanted to make a horror movie that was no fun" Boll told the audience at the film's world premiere and he has, on that flimsy manifesto, succeeded but if this was supposed to convince the director's detractors that he was a serious genre filmmaker, he'll need something genuine to say as well as a better, more original way of saying it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off... I never considered myself an Uwe Boll Hater since I think
I never even saw one of his movies but after seeing this cheap excuse
for a movie named "Seed" (which is the name of the serial killer this
movie is about) I am close to joining the hate club. This movie makes
absolutely no sense at all... the plot is a joke and although Boll
clearly tries to get attention by shocking people 90% of this movie is
just plain boredom. You can sum up this movie like this:
1. Hooded killer watches clips of animals getting tortured on TV. This is real life footage from pelt farms and the movie opens with the ridiculous reason of "making a statement about humanity" and giving a Peta address. Since this movie has no message at all and is the worst piece of torture porn-exploitation you already have a reason to hate the movie from the beginning onward.
2. Death by electrocution with a pretext that gives away what happens later in this movie printed on screen so every retard gets it.
3. Cops watch videos of animals, babies and women starved to death and decomposing in Seeds basement, having stupid nightmares and crying into their whiskey because Seed is such an evil bad mofo. Although the acting is OK the movie takes a dive every time it tries to incorporate any emotions...
4. Cops bust Seed in his house, act stupid and get slashed in the dark. This sequence reminds me of a video game, you barely see anything except flashlights. Seed is a super killer that is everywhere at once and all cops act stupid enough to be killed... except for one who busts him.
5. Seed gets the chair and we see his electrocution as lengthy as everything else in this "movie"... he won't die and we are reminded of the opening statement that he must be set free if he survives 3 electric jolts. Guess what... they just bury him alive to solve the problem.
6. Seed comes out of his grave, kills everyone off in another slashing part and then seeks the main cop to take revenge on.
7. A woman gets her head bashed in with a hammer in an endless sequence from one point of view just for the fun and shock value of it.
8. Seed captures the cops family, lures him to his house, threatens to kill his wife and daughter. After killing his wife with a nail gun the cop shoots himself in the head considering thats whats Seed wants (its hard to get into that guys head since he not just wears his mask even in prison but also never utters a word ... the movie has barely any dialog anyway so don't mind).
9. Boll goes for a nihilistic shocker end where Seed locks the daughter in with her dead dad to rot like the persons we saw on video on sequence 3.
This is it... no message, no plot, no reason, no face behind the mask, no background except a stupid story that Seed was burnt as a child.
This movie relies purely on few key scenes and their shock value. I hardly remember a movie this empty of any emotion or message or entertainment. Its like watching August Underground ... thats fine with me, some people will enjoy this brainless snuff. But what is really hard to stand about it is the pseudo-message in the beginning and the fact that the movie is well made considering camera-work, effects and even the acting is too good for this waste of celluloid.
So how does Boll get money to make such "movies" when thousands of talented directors work on shoestring budgets?? "Seed" is not just the essence of ridiculous, its living proof that the free market is flawed ... lucky Uwe that the German taxpayer is paying for a lot of this waste to get deductments.
Aside from the movie having some longer cuts/scenes, overall it was a
pretty solid horror flick.
Acting was not spectacular and neither was the script (kind of reminded me of Shocker), but it was a decent movie. The lead police offer in the film did a fairly good job of showing range of emotion depending on the scene/situation. Personally I am a fan of the silent, demented killer. Not a single line spoken that the viewer can hear by Seed himself. Probably not a bad idea because I'm going to go out on a limb and say the guy in the mask is probably a brutal actor...
Additionally, there is enough splatter to appease any horror fan and a nice little ending that doesn't leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.
I know Uwe Boll is known for making ridiculous films, but he came through with one here. A pleasant surprise.
Over the past year, Uwe Boll has shown marginal improvement as a
filmmaker, cranking out the competent "In the Name of the King" (a
"Lord of the Rings" clone) and the proudly vulgar, post-9/11 satire
"Postal." But then came "Seed," and the counter was reset to Zero,
keeping his bid for legitimacy and respect that much further out of
reach. And I'm a fan of the guyhis films exhibit a uniquely screwball
vision, and are never dull.
Spawned from his frustration over the savage notices his early films received, "Seed" is a colossally misguided attempt at social commentary, and an even worse jab at creating an iconic slasher mythology (Boll often seems to be taking a page from Rob Zombie's successful reboot of "Halloween"). The antagonist is Maxwell Seed (Will Sanderson), a mute, hulking brute who's slain 666 people and sits on death row, awaiting execution; after unsuccessfully frying the beast, he rises from the grave to seek revenge on those who put him there...and so begins a string of wholly gratuitous mayhem.
Trying to create a new-millennium slasher in the vein of Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, Max Seed is too nondescript and boring to leave an impression, ultimately resembling a washed-up pro wrestler doing "The Toolbox Murders" on a succession of equally boring victims. Furthermore, Seed's character and Boll's "message" run contrary to one another: the death penalty is wrong, sure, but are we really expected to sympathize with a soulless killer who's left a couple hundred corpses in his wake? I think not.
Meanwhile, Michael Pare acts like a listless, long-lost brother to James Remar's character on "Dexter": a cop who sits at his desk a lot, thumbing through newspaper clippings, and watching pointless stop-motion scenes of decomposing animals and people trapped in Seed's lair. By the time he and a bunch of cardboard cops storm Seed's hideout, the sequence is so drawn-out, ill-conceived (the lighting is almost non-existent), and unexciting (despite a healthy dose of gore) that it almost put me to sleep.
The shoddy film-making isn't limited to just that sequence: "Seed" appears to have been shot by a drunken cinematographer, since the camera bobs and weaves endlessly, a technique that's more stomach-turning than the gore itself; these protracted takes of very little happening only draw attention to the meandering, almost non-existent narrative. At 90 minutes, the film is distended enough to be considered a form of torture, which might have been Boll's intent all along.
Pure genius...I guess the joke's on me.
Director Uwe Boll is commonly regarded as a terrible film-maker, and
his sick psycho killer flick Seed is unlikely to radically alter this
general perception, being an absolute mess in the script department;
however, if nothing else, it does prove that Boll has balls.
Packed full of sadistic, no-holds-barred violence, the film is truly nasty stuff from start to finish, the director clearly not intending to make any new friends; as a result, I can't help but feel a sneaking admiration for this movie maverick, a man for whom the words 'quit', 'diplomacy' and 'restraint' obviously do not exist.
During the opening credits, Boll even has the nerve to show PETA footage depicting real-life atrocities perpetrated on defenceless animals; I can only guess that this was an attempt to show the viewer just how inhumane people can be, but it comes across as a cheap tactic to shock the audience.
Thankfully, everything from here on in is achieved through special effects, although with numerous graphic murders, a baby among the many victims, it's still definitely not for the easily offended. A prolonged hatchet attack on an elderly woman is perhaps the film's most nauseating moment (although as this particular spot of carnage escalates, the somewhat iffy CGI makes it slightly less effective).
Yes, Boll sure knows how to upset and disturb; all he needs to do now is perfect telling a decent story (one that isn't so obviously flawed), hire a decent lighting technician (some scenes were way too dark), and he might be able to silence his critics without having to punch their lights out.
4.5/10, rounded up to 5 for IMDb.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The star of "Seed" is human cruelty. Whether to animals or other humans, this film explores the inside of the sociopathic mind, devoid of all normal empathy or sympathy, completely objectifying all things outside of self. Max's motto "Anything that arises is worth destroying." Is very apt. It is a chilling vision indeed. As disturbing as the entire film is, some murder scenes are rather mundane and poorly done (the warden, the doctor). But two scenes stand out. The films that Max Seed is watching during the intro really made me squirm; they also enraged me against anyone so cruel. This sets the mental tone of the audience for the rest of the film. You are enraged that anyone could perpetrate such monstrous acts merely for his personal enjoyment and satisfaction. This is how a normal person should feel about such crimes. The scene with the woman tied to the chair is the culmination of Boll's sick and disturbing brilliance. The music is what makes this scene bearable. It rises in outrage at the increasing intensity of Seed's attacks, until it roars in rage at a fever pitch, but helplessly, against the barbarity of a world in which a Max Seed or a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer could exist. Beware of this scene. You may want to skip it unless you are really into exploring the extremes of aberrant behavior. The ending postulates Seed's effort to reproduce his pathology into the daughter of the police detective who arrested him. The film leaves us to speculate on the success or failure of his attempt.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having gone through a couple dozen of the video nasties that were
banned in Britain, this one certainly fits right in.
I really do not understand the Peta clips at the beginning. Was this something that he was supposed to have watched? Did these things even exist in the 70s? It just seemed like gratuitous animal torture to set the mood.
I also could not understand why the cops raided his place at night. It was perfect for Seed as he was able to dispatch five of them before he was caught. Hey, guys, next time try the daylight.
The execution scenes were horrendous. I really didn't need to see someones head on fire. Pro capital punishment junkies will get a real fix on this part.
Things really got interesting after they buried him alive. By interesting, I mean this is the gory part. The hammer scene was probably the most gruesome thing I have ever seen in a horror film.
I know the Uwe Boll haters will find something to tear up in this film, but it really was worthwhile in the video nastie sense.
For any other movie it would be alright but I think what he was going for here is to disturb people... House of the Dead was a mess, Alone in the Dark never made any sense.. And I skipped out on Bloodrayne because of all the horrible reviews... Well I came across this one at wal-mart and I watched it with low expectations... Don't get me wrong the first half tends to really drag out giving incoherent backstory telling... Making it seem like a prequel to another movie or something... But once it got into gore mode it delivered... There are many visceral scenes in this movie that made me cringe and it had an ending that was well executed... It did drag a lot though but for a boll movie it's an 8 for a regular movie its a 5 A lot more disturbing than hostel was supposed to be...
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