We’re just about a month into 2024 and we had a few horror films release this month. Two major releases, including Barnaby Clay’s ‘The Seeding’ which we will discuss today, ‘Night Swim’, and a few indie titles that didn’t do much to tick the horror hunger box; at least for me. However, ‘The Seeding’ is one of those films that ticked my horror hunger box.
A film that explores some of humanity’s deepest fears and interpersonal issues sprinkled with some of the best horror tropes we are all too familiar with. Evenly paced and with a script that’s tighter than usual for a horror film of this kind, Barnaby Clay and his leading stars provide a dreadful, yet disturbing viewing experience that’s sure to leave an impact.
‘The Seeding’ follows Wyndham Stone, a hiker who becomes lost after trying to help a child who is also seemingly lost. Despite his best efforts, he is taken off course until he finds a woman living alone in a cabin. Seeking refuge and help to find his way back to his car and ultimately his way back home proves to be his biggest mistake. As the mystery that shrouds this lone woman, in the isolated pit of a canyon where they find themselves, and the sadistic children that taunt them, yet feed them for their entertainment elevate, we are thrown for an anxiety-driven experience that capitalize the feelings of dread, claustrophobia, and entrapment.
Filming documentaries and music videos takes an incredible amount of skills and transitioning to a genre-specific feature film as one’s feature film directorial debut could prove to be a massive task that many first-time directors can fail at. This is fine because as creatives we live and learn and can only improve and hone our craft through trial and error. Barnaby shows with The Seeding that he has honed his craft and his transition over to feature film has been a smooth one. All the while paying homage to some great horror tropes.
Although the entirety of this film takes place in this one location, the film uses this massive canyon hole to its advantage. Providing bird’s eye views of the landscape and wide shots to emphasize how small and trapped one can feel in a situation like this one. Barnaby Clay, the director, also plays on the natural human fear of the unknown to great effect. Scott Haze does an incredible job at delivering this fear as we see him slowly fall deeper into a sense of desperation, a false sense of hope, and a false sense of willingness to cooperate to secure his freedom. All of which he has to no avail.
In addition to Barnaby’s skills behind the camera and Scott Haze’s performance. I would like to also commend Kate Lyn Sheil. Her performance was gripping and twisted; and when she fully dives into the role she sells the story even more. More so when things go left and she reveals the truth as to why she is at this location, willingly. Throughout the film, I had an inkling about Alina (Kate Lyn Sheil) and that she had ulterior motives but found myself rooting for her and Wyndham (Scott Haze) to make it out and hopefully raise this child.
But just as Wyndham gained and lost hope, so did I as the layers began to peel. The Seeding ends on a rather ambiguous and outright disturbing note. Succumbing to the circumstance, Wyndham agrees to raise his daughter alongside Alina in this hellhole, unfortunately, for him, immediately after he meets his daughter he meets his demise.
‘The Seeding’ knows what it is, knows what it is not, and knows what it aims to do. Provide a look at some of the dark sides of human nature that we as a society are not too fond of. Not everyone will find themselves in a situation like this one so focusing on that and highlighting that experience in this manner and to this effect was enjoyable, even if it was dreadful and at times disturbing. However, that is why we watch horror films to begin with. For the occult, the suspense, dread, and the gore. All of which can be seen in this film even if some of these moments are brief.
Barnaby Clay’s ‘The Seeding’ provides enough suspense, dread, and fear to delight almost any horror fan even if the horrors aren’t over the top. The intense sense of dread, anxiety, and claustrophobia spread throughout the film and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even when things seem just a tad bit hopeful, just like a rollercoaster ride, you are dropped without warning to provide that unequivocal thrill we seek. The film’s looming score elevates those feelings even more.
‘The Seeding’ is now playing in theaters and available to purchase digitally.
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