Kafka and Nabokov Walk Into a Horror: Seeds by Owen Long

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Seeds by Owen Long

Owen Long's indy project, SEEDS, is an art film with a horror angle; a blend of Kafka's METAMORPHOSIS and Nabokov's LOLITA, with a subtle hint of H.P Lovecraft peppered throughout.

The focus of the film is on Marcus (TREVOR LONG), a man who lives a hermit-like existence in his parents' old home. For reasons we never quite understand, he's forever rewiring the place in ways that are clearly not up to code. Marcus is haunted by the death of a woman he had a fling with once, in a hotel, and which he paid to have covered up by a man who continues to show up in his life delivering pills. What the pills are for is never quite clear, as Marcus seems deranged before taking them, and just as deranged afterward.

The only time he appears to be calm is when he's around his teenaged niece, Lily (ANDREA CHEN). He clearly carries a forbidden torch for her -- and she is aware of it, and frequently encourages it. When her parents try to work out a reconciliation, they leave Lily and her younger brother, Spencer (GARR LONG), at Marcus's for an indeterminate amount of time. While Marcus is almost sedately calm most of the time around the children, we see that he is anything but, as he wakes up from fantasies, among which are sexual encounters with a giant chitinous insect--potentially a representation of himself, and thus perhaps an anagrammatic metaphor of 'insect' and 'incest.'

We do see some sort of tentacled creature -- a small one in a conch shell -- beginning early on in the film, and in later scenes much larger within the house. However, there is never a direct eyewitness encounter with these tentacles, although we're given to believe they have something to do with the hodge-podge electrical project Marcus has going on. Often we will see the tentacles, and then they will have vanished, leaving us to wonder if there's really a monster here, or if it's all just a part of Marcus's fevered imagination.

The cinematography for SEEDS is well done, although definitely indy in its approach. There are long periods of silence in most of the scenes, which is fine. However, it's the silences between dialogue bits that is more unnerving, just not in the way the director is trying to unnerve the audience. It seems unnatural in its sluggish pace, and could have felt more realistic if there was less malaise in the conversations.

SEEDS is the kind of film you find yourself watching twice to get a full grasp of what's going on. It's not plodding despite its deliberate pacing, and you'll frequently be scratching your head about how one scene picks up from the other. However, for an indy-film (done on a budget, and with the input of much of the Long family), SEEDS is horror for fans of film where the plot is more cerebral than active.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0