Nikhail Asnani’s 10-minute horror Seed follows a witch’s mission to grow her olive tree. Set in broad daylight despite the sinister nature of its protagonist’s plans, the film uses its actors to create the exact disquietude it was aiming for.
Ms Persimmon (Niki J. Crawford), try though she might, cannot keep her olive plant alive, much less have it grow into a tree. The film establishes her true nature right off the bat though other characters are unaware. Admittedly, there is only one other character with any extended presence: Emma (Nicole Shadi Tchounga). She is the answer to Ms Persimmon’s problem. There are no dialogues to drive this point home but like much else in the film, oblique hints suffice. Ms Persimmons nicks a strand of Emma’s hair. Over the course of the film, other elements of her follow suit.
The film develops unease both through Ms Persimmons’ powers and her persona otherwise. Yet this unease is undercut by a quasi-motherliness on her part. Even a sense of friendship. Emma is comfortable discussing the goings-on of her personal life, from family to school to crushes.
When the truth is revealed to Emma in an ugly turn of events, the viewer is left to wonder how much of the friendship between them was a lie. This forms an interesting play with Persimmons’ deranged interest in her plant. It was not a complete lie, which adds complexity to her character—a far better alternative to a wholly evil character.
Seed is made interesting by the writing and portrayal of the scheming witch at its centre. Its ending leaves multiple fates undecided, except for the newly sprouted olive plant. Looks like this one will thrive, after all.
Seed: A Murder (Or Two) For An Olive