Sunday, November 23, 2008

Non-Video Game Movie Review: Uwe Boll's Seed

I promised to review Uwe Boll's non-video game offerings, and here is my first! Eventually, I'll get around to reviewing his earlier offerings, but here are my thoughts on his most recent non-video game offering.

Seed was such a waste of time that I’m not sure I want to waste your time reading about how terrible it was. So, if you aren’t dying of boredom, know that it was terrible and you should avoid it at all costs. If you have absolutely nothing better to do (and might I suggest randomly following a bunch of links on Wikipedia? It’s a great way to kill time. If you are having trouble, I’ll start you out. Here’s a link about the Platypus. It’s a fascinating animal. Click the link! You won’t be disappointed. Platypii aren’t for you? Well, are you familiar with the Sonic Hedgehog protein? No? Well follow this link.)

Geez. You really are determined to find out more about Seed. Well, Seed was written, directed and produced by Uwe Boll. Although my standards were low, I was really amazed at how crappy this film was. I’ve seen probably hundreds of slasher films, and this is one of the worst. (However, it is better than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which is probably the worst film I’ve ever seen. That at least is somewhat humorous.) The film is about a serial killer named Sam Seed, who is ridiculously good at not getting caught since he was able to kill over 666 victims. According to wikipedia's link on serial killers, the most proven victims is 218, so 666 seems really far fetched. There are some killers with a possible victim count of around 600, but they all lived a long time ago before we made advances in criminal investigations.

Unlike many of his films, it actually is somewhat coherent. It’s confused, muddled and downright bad, but there is a narrative arc. As well, it seems like he was making an attempt to raise a moral dilemma, but the execution was so poor that it’s hard to draw any sort of meaning from this crapfest. Basically the story follows a police officer who captures Seed, and then is faced with a “terrible choice” of whether to follow the rules or bend them to make sure Seed gets what he deserves. Apparently the prison's electric chair is faulty, and when they try to execute Seed, it doesn't kill him. Wherever they live has a crazy law that if you survive three electrocution attempts, you are allowed to go free. So the police officer is faced with the intense moral dilemma of burying him alive or risking a third attempt on the chair after the first two. Unfortunately, this premise is terribly flawed. They already told everyone he was dead after the second attempt, so they are already breaking the rules by lying. One would think that initial choice would have liberated them to kill him as they saw fit, but for some dumb reason they feel bound that they have to either declare him dead, or give him round 3 with the chair. They could have injected him with poison, strangled him, shot him, smothered him, or any other method to extinguish the small flame of human life remaining in his battered body. The cop made the choice to bury him alive, and of course Seed escapes and starts to kill everyone and tries to get revenge on the cop.

Now, although that sounds extraordinarily generic and rather stupid, Boll tries really hard to make this film “art”. There are dream sequences and flashbacks, all poorly executed, so they confuse rather than enlighten. As well, it seems that he was trying copy Lars von Trier's unique style of camera work. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the talent or vision to pull it out. Instead, it feels like the cameraman is zooming in and out like he has a nervous twitch had their finger on the zoom buttons on a home camcorder. In fact, maybe the entire film was filmed on camcorders because the camera movement was rough and distracting. Maybe Uwe didn’t want to pay for a steadicam and someone who can operate one?

The editing was terrible. I don’t really envy the editor because if it were me, I would have cut it down to probably 15 minutes maximum. Every scene is drawn out and boring. While this can sometimes be effective in horror like Takashi Miike’s fantastic Audition, it was painful here. Miike deliberately made the movie slow in order to build up to the ending. Boll doesn’t have enough mastery of the art form to do anything like that. Shots are always awkwardly long or short. Normally editing doesn't stand out because when done right, it's not intrusive. As well, I was under the impression that it's not too difficult to do average editing, but it was exceptionally poor. Perhaps again this was Uwe's attempt to do something artsy, but it failed due to lack of talent.

Surprisingly, the end isn’t your typical Hollywood ending, but it is stupid and poorly written similar to the rest of the film. The amazing part is I actually do have something nice to say. Child actress, Jodelle Ferland, was quite good. She was the little girl in Silent Hill, Tideland, and unfortunately Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance. It’s sad she really didn’t get a chance to shine because her scenes were all bogged down with sloppy editing, directing and writing.

I've wasted enough words on this terrible film. So, lemme skip right to the ratings.

Production Values: 7.0 – The film reeks of low budget. The poor camera work might have been attributed to not being able to afford a steadicam or a steadicam operator. The gratuitous gore was pretty poorly done.

Story: 6.5 – Far from good, but a bit better than your typical Uwe fare.

Action: 8.5 – There was little. Uwe seemed to be going for a dramatic thriller, but he failed miserably.

Laughs: 9.0 – There was nothing particularly funny about it. The only way I was able to laugh was when I was thinking about how misguided Uwe was when trying to create this film.

Total Turds: 7.0 – As I started off this article, Seed is a huge waste of time. I figured it might be a mistake to watch it, but I figured I'd take one for the team. Avoid this one unless someone has a gun to your head.

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