Written and directed by Nikhail Asnani, a witch recruits a virgin to help grow her olive tree. Starring: Niki J. Crawford, Nicole Shadi Tchounga and Cayla Sacre.
Something about Seed that immediately strikes you is the use of lighting, quickly evoking something very modern with a touch of the macabre. What then makes that more interesting, is the hugely contrasted change in tones when it switches to an everyday aesthetic. That blend of different styles is something that Nikhail Asnani uses throughout the film, creating an atmosphere which has a lot of dark potential but keeps its foundation based in ordinary life. In that sense Asnani is building an unsettling vibe using smaller touches rather than just throwing it in your face. It’s the clever way to go because it tends to be more effective and allows the film to get under your skin in plenty of time before it officially lets loose.
All of that is then bolstered by the curious, unusual and intriguing presence brought by Niki J. Crawford’s performance. The air that she brings to the table is mysterious with a touch of the sadistic and manipulative, it’s genuinely captivating. It keeps you guessing as to how far she’ll go or what she’s truly capable of but at the same time Crawford creates a clear, strong persona for Ms. Persimmon. Pairing that dark potential with a naïve, perky and enthusiastic character is always a recipe for success, wherein comes Nicole Shadi Tchounga’s Emma. She represents a quintessential character of horror, her optimism and severe lack of cynicism or suspicion leaves her satisfyingly open to all sorts of dangerous, violent or deadly acts befalling her character.
Having that basis of sorcery and the occult is a great way to start a story and it works really well with Seed but it does feel like we’re missing a little bit of extra context to take it further. The pacing and progression are absolutely solid but the resolution doesn’t quite fulfil its potential without a bigger reasoning to Ms. Persimmon’s desires. Regardless, the atmosphere, suspense, intensity and mystery are all present so it does speak to the quality of Nikhail Asnani’s writing.
Seed is a dark, suspenseful tale of modern day sorcery. It feels like it would be a perfect fit for a bigger anthology of occult short films. Niki J. Crawford leads the film with a stellar presence which both tells you exactly who her character is but leaves plenty of room for sinister potential. Asnani uses a blend of different styles throughout the film to create a well rounded atmosphere, piecing together something that’s just a quick step outside of reality but has plenty of mystery.