How does the Shudder Original The Seed stack up as a body horror invasion film? Does Sam Walker’s feature debut create a new standard of excellence for a well-worn genre, or does it merely exist? Is it a seed for something greater?

Sam Walker wrote and directed The Seed and has cited The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Thing, and Eraserhead as influences. These influences are worn quite well in the film, almost with direct homages to iconic moments and visuals. The Seed stars Lucy Martin, Chelsea Edge, and Sophie Vavasseur. The film is a Camelot Films and Hardman Pictures production and is distributed by Shudder.

What Worked with The Seed?

Sam Walker’s film hits all the expected marks you may want to see in an invasion-horror film. The Seed has an interesting alien design that draws viewers in due to the perceived vulnerability of the creature. Further, the film is stacked with suitably apocalyptic visuals portend great cosmic doom, and even manages to throw in some abject sexuality for some edge. There is a somewhat undercooked theme about social media presence, but it doesn’t go anywhere given the lack of internet connectivity that becomes a plot point in the film.

The film is firmly a body horror experience, and as bodies begin to ooze and tear apart, gore fans will find much to enjoy. The practical effects surrounding the alien are excellent and disgusting, despite the cute appearance of the alien; think of a box turtle’s face on a bloated, hairless chihuahua.

Ben Ziryab’s cinematography does a lot of lifting for the film. There are moments of great beauty and excellent composition, which is vital for a movie that is nearly entirely locked into three locations. The CGI is less polished than the cinematography but is still quite good, barring a few instances.

The performances are good, given the limited material to work with. Of the performers, the movie becomes quickly dominated by the push and pull of Lucy Martin’s Diedre and Chelse Edge’s Charlotte. Unfortunately, that leaves Sophie Vavasseur’s Heather a largely thankless role in reacting to her two co-stars.

The music is largely appropriate and can be pretty good at times. Lucrecia Dalt’s score evokes space horror akin to cosmically-infused horror films such as The Color Out of Space and Psycho Goreman.

Screenshot from The Seed on Shudder
Lucy Martin dominates the proceedings in The Seed (2021)

What Didn’t Work with The Seed?

For the things that The Seed has going for it, at least two things hobble it from being a great film. While the visuals and presentation are strong, everything else struggles to draw viewers in. The film’s strongest elements, the visuals, have weak areas, such as a somewhat cheap-looking meteor shower sequence.

Characters are less developed and like sketches that adhere closely to their tropey associations. So much so that the film could completely excise the character of Heather and still make a lot of sense. Her presence offers little to the story beyond giving the two opposite characters a person to bounce off. The film is primarily dominated by the interpersonal conflict between Deidre’s outgoing, selfish desires and Charlotte’s nature as a fuddy-duddy-luddite.

The story is an invasion narrative that starts fairly slowly, and the slow burn isn’t bad. The problem is that it offers no surprises at all. Nothing about how the invasion works is surprising as it has been seen before. The ending is somewhat of an eye-roller, meant to generate shock or surprise, but landing with a wet thud.

Still from The Seed featuring Chelsea Edge
Chelsea Edge gets suitably messy in the body horror scenes from The Seed (2021)

Final Thoughts on The Seed

Overall, The Seed is fun but pretty disposable. Given minimal characterization and an overreliance on tropes, the film doesn’t stand out as one of Shudder’s stronger originals. The film can be quite gory and engaging with some exciting visuals, barring a few rough spots. But the story is where the film falters the most. The Seed ranks in at about three-and-a-half Cthulhus out of five.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

The Seed is currently streaming on Shudder.

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David Davis

Drive-In Fan

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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