Spoiler-Free Review: THE SEEDING (Tribeca Festival 2023)  

June 14, 2023

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Imagine a horror film that combines elements found in Hiroshi Teshigahara’s classic Woman in the Dunes (Japan, 1964) with your favorite evil/feral child horror movie, add in a good deal of weirdness and mystery, and you’re only partially on your way to what writer/director Barney Clay’s The Seeding (U.S., 2023) holds in store for you. This harrowing work has stayed with me for days after watching it, and I’m certain that its grip will linger with me for quite some time.


I’m only going to discuss the initial set-up, as viewers should go in as cold as possible. A man (Scott Haze) is in the desert to photograph an eclipse. A young teen boy appears to be lost, and the man attempts to help him, reluctantly following as the boy leads them further away from the main road. The boy disappears and the man is lost, with night and foul weather coming on. He finds his way to a chasm in which a home is built, and he descends a rope and meets the woman (Kate Lyn Sheil) who lives there. Suffice it to say that the teen is not the only boy in the area, and that, this being a horror movie, danger and mystery abound.


Haze and Sheil turn in amazing performances. Haze runs through a wide variety of emotions as his character is put through the wringer, and Sheil also shines in portraying an enigmatic character. 


Clay’s screenplay deals with dark themes that reflect existential crises, dealing with and having to deal with our animal instincts, our will to live and the futility that can come with that, and other philosophical conundrums. The presentation of The Seeding feels like the best elements of 1970s horror with present-day themes and technical aspects, exploring universal motifs with otherworldly riddles. Clay invests the film with tantalizing facets involving ritual and tradition left open to viewer conjecture. Cinematographer Robert Leitzell captures the dynamic landscape and the claustrophobic circumstances beautifully.



Some readers may feel I haven’t given enough detail, but I don’t want to ruin a single frame of The Seeding for those who have yet to see it. For those wondering, it is light on blood and gore but nevertheless heavy on grueling sequences. Fear-fare aficionados should put this film high on their need-to-see lists.



The Seeding is part of Tribeca Festival, which takes place in New York City from June 7–18, 2023.


The Seeding, a Magnet release, opens everywhere on January 26, 2024.



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