Prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. Quint has seen Uwe Boll's SEED!!
Published at: Nov. 12, 2006, 1:24 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts. Quint here. Oh boy, ladies and gents... I have seen Dr. Uwe Boll's newest work of misunderstood genius, SEED. This is the movie that Dr. Boll called his true work. It's an original script by him, not based on any video game and he said it was going to blow away like-films, specifically SAW and HOSTEL.
I am both proud and ashamed to have started the Boll bashing that is so popular these days. I wrote one of the first reviews for HOUSE OF THE DEAD from an AFM screening. I walked into that movie expecting a fun, cheesy movie and got one of the worst films ever made... by anybody... ever. I'm happy that his movies haven't been at all successful (except for his claims of hundreds of millions of dollars in DVD sales... which he has never been able to prove) and that he's now a known joke as a filmmaker. But I have to give Boll his credit. He knows how to work his strengths.
He took the mantle of "World's Worst Filmmaker" and has used it recently with that whole Boxing stunt. He realizes that with his tax loophole sealed and his last 2 films without any North American distribution, the only thing he has to attract funding is his ability to create headlines. I am ashamed to have helped in any way to give that notoriety... however, with his growing fame came the upside of the video game companies/book publishers/comic companies/anybody realizing it's a bad idea to give their properties to this guy.
So, I've kind of adopted an "ignore him and he'll go away" policy, which I plan on breaking only when I've seen one of his films and write my review. The boxing thing was a pathetic, if ultimately successful, publicity stunt. He's tried this kind of thing before. He invited me and a few other online journalists to "re-edit" HOUSE OF THE DEAD for a "critic's cut" which he would release on a new HOTD DVD. That offer included a flight up to Canada, lodging and food while we all took part in the edit. I flat out refused to take part and I think all the others (including critics from CHUD and Bloody-Disgusting if I remember correctly) did as well.
So, let's get to the review of SEED. I'm a bit conflicted on this movie to be completely honest. It's easily his worst film since HOUSE OF THE DEAD, but I want him to make more. He's finally home. He's where he needs to be as a filmmaker. SEED is an original script by Boll, so he's not butchering a potentially good story. That's a plus. He has not duped any good actors into appearing in his crap. Another plus. The production value is as direct to cable/DVD as you'd expect and the filmmaking strictly amateur hour.
He's finally accepted his fate as a direct to video filmmaker. If he's doing no-budget original movies for video markets, then I wish him a long career. He won't be able to taint real (theatrical) horror films that way and can still make all the cash he wants.
So, do I trash this movie for being the tripe it is or do I let it go and let Dr. Boll have his direct to DVD career?
I can't help but want to review the film. I've endured it, now I have to warn people. I guess I'm a humanist. Plus I just read that he had a $10 million budget for this movie... here I thought he had $1 or $2 million and was cutting him some slack...
Let me just go over the main good and bad on the film.
The opening. BAD. For 5 minutes we have to endure a barrage of real-life footage of animals being tortured and killed. Whimpering foxes being skinned alive and beaten. Baby seals being clubbed... a skinned animal that looked like a dog suffering, obviously dying very slowly, dogs getting their skulls crushed in by heavy boots. Dr. Boll apparently doesn't understand that by revolting an audience with animal torture he's not a successful horror director. And this comes from someone who has enjoyed movies with some horrific animal stuff in it, like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. I find it hard to stomach no matter what, but at least in HOLOCAUST, and some kung-fu flicks I've seen, all the animal killing seems to be a cultural thing or really mean something to flow of the story.
Here we see it just to see it, to get a cheap reaction for the good Doctor.
Almost all the acting across the board was up to Boll's usual standards. Michael Pare is the lead, a detective on the hunt for a masked serial killer, and is just as over the top as you'd expect as the lead in a Uwe Boll movie to be. The only person who has any personality at all in the movie is Ralf Moeller, as the buff Warden at the prison that throws the switch on the serial killer, Max Seed. Moeller was in GLADIATOR and has been working with Schwarzenegger forever (even got a cameo in BATMAN AND ROBIN). He's still a cartoon in the movie, just one that isn't hard to watch.
Boll spends most of the movie wielding his HD camera like a high school girl with Parkinson's. It's mostly hand-held and amazingly under-edited. There is so much wasted time in this movie... It's not enough to see Pare decide to drive to his house from the police station... we have to watch him leave the station, get in his car, fumble with the keys, drive off and then pick up as he drives down his street, parks, opens and closes his door, walk the path to his door, unlock it and finally enter his house.
There's also another scene where a prison employee goes to bed and literally turns out every lamp in his apartment. After pouring himself a couple drinks.
I guess it's meant to build tension, but I think for that to work you need some atmosphere or characters you care about or a killer that is in any way scary.
Let's talk about Max Seed a bit. They make a big deal with a text scroll at the beginning of the movie to underline the urban legend prison policy that if you're zapped 3 times and don't die, then you get an automatic release. Boll also makes it seem that's the big angle of the story in all the interviews he's done about SEED. It really has very little to do with what goes on. You spend most of the movie watching cops look over police files and observing videos of his victims while he sits in jail. By the way, in this world they apparently let serial killers on death row keep their serial killer masks... all the way up to the execution. Then you get flashbacks of Pare's raid that captured him (and killed every single one of Pare's men).
Then the electrocution happens and he's only zapped twice! Twice! Ralf worries that if they zap him again and he still survives then they'll have to let him go, so they bury him alive. Which makes sense, right? They'd lie, forge a death certificate and bury him alive, but damn it... that unwritten prison law about letting him go if he survives zap #3 would have compelled them to release this murderer, who killed an imaginative and totally plausible 666 people in 6 years, according to one of the three or four hundred newspaper headlines we're shown.
That brings me to the newspaper clippings. In other films you might expect the plot or character backstory to be revealed through dialogue or action... here you find out everything by leafing through files with newspaper clippings. Ralf at the prison does it (his file strangely has a newspaper clipping telling us that he will be executed in a few days... they aren't kidding around with their files in that prison... up to date and more), Pare does it multiple times and some random cops do it. I'm not exaggerating when I say there's probably 8 or 10 whole minutes of the movie devoted to panning over fake newspaper clippings and paperwork in file folders.
This movie makes ALONE IN THE DARK Boll's high water mark. That's the best he has been able to achieve and I think it's pretty safe to say it'll be the best movie he'll ever make. However, I do believe that of any movie he's had a hand in, Boll's upcoming POSTAL stands the highest chance of actually achieving that "so-bad-it's-good" level. I still say anybody who enjoys any of Boll's movies on that level is batshit insane. His movies all have "so-bad-it's-funny" elements, sure, but on the whole they are all so damn boring. SEED has one main "so-bad-it's-good" moment. There's a scene where the killer, in full get-up, does an exercise montage. No shit. A full on exercise montage. But it's not even just him doing jumping jacks and squats and crunches, but doing them horribly. It's like a Benny Hill sketch, it's so ludicrous.
Goddamn this movie sucks, but what else would you expect? Need visual proof? As goofy as this picture is, it's only the tip of the shit-berg Boll constructed for us:
I heard distributors at this screening say that SEED was shown in the UK and all the distributors there demanded the movie be shut off after half an hour. I heard the animal torture aspect will keep it from getting any distribution in North America. That doesn't surprise me. Boll tried his hand at making a SAW/HOSTEL, but ended up doing what he always does: Miss the point completely. "But dere is torture in da moobie! Dere is torture in SAW, so it is as good!"
Keep at it, Dr. Boll. It seems you're devolving as a filmmaker, which I would have thought was impossible before watching SEED, but that places you more and more firmly where you belong... on the bottom shelf of the new release wall at Blockbusters all over the country.