THE SEEDING (2023)
Lightbulb Film Distribution. Digital Download 12th February
THE SEEDING is one of those horror movies where you’ll find yourself saying “You probably don’t want to do that”…
The film opens in the Utah desert – a young baby in nappies, all grimy, wanders into frame, chewing on something it shouldn’t be munching and setting up the bleak tone from the get go.
We meet Wyndham Stone (Scott Haze) who has come out to the desolation to photograph a solar eclipse – a portent of things to come perhaps?
Heading back to his car he comes across a cowering young boy who claims to have lost his parents, – trying to help, he finds himself heading off away from where his vehicle is parked – then the youngster smirks at Wyndham and ditches him.
Completely lost and alone, and with no mobile phone signal, he hears a voice and sees a lady singing and a small shack in a large hole carved out of the rock. Conveniently (and this is where you may well say “don’t”), there is a ladder that leads down into the ravine. And of course, thinking he might be able to find help, he ventures down. Big mistake!
There he meets Alina, the owner of the small dwelling. No phone, but he is offered food and a bed for the night. Awakening the next morning he tries to slip out unnoticed but soon discovers the ladder has gone and there is no other way out. As desperation and a resigned realisation set in, he also hears voices of children who appear around the rim. Can they help? Or will they just taunt him?
And what is in store for him with the often silent stranger Alina – will he have to accept there is no escape?
You can’t really say THE SEEDING is a fun watch – grim would be a good word. Written and directed by Brit Barnaby Clay, this is his first narrative feature and he manages to build a creepy atmosphere. The imagery is striking (shot by Robert Leitzell) with strong use of location to emphasis just how trapped Wyndham is. The acting is believable and there is a highly effective score by Tristan Bechet, aided by an ambient soundscape which gives the whole thing a chilling aura. All this adds up to a somewhat depressing and distressing watch. The biggest issue with it, however, is that with a title like THE SEEDING, and the situation it presents, it is obvious where it is heading.