[Review] Seek [FilmQuest]: Outstanding Design and Effects Highlight This Excellent Creature Feature Short

Director Aaron Morgan wrings the maximum creepy atmosphere possible in five minutes in his short film Seek.  This tale of a rest stop break gone terrifyingly wrong is also bolstered by convincing performances, terrific set design, and super creature effects.

Argumentative sisters Heidi (Allisyn Snider) and Jordan (Clare Grant) are obviously on a road trip that was a bad idea. Jordan reluctantly pulls over to a creaky looking rest stop so Heidi can use the restroom. After hearing some odd noises while behind a stall door, Heidi finds a smartphone on the floor that shows the fate of a man (Steve Agee) who used the facilities before her — and she realizes the same thing may happen to her.

The practical effects are incredible, and that should come as no surprise, considering the creature was brought to cinematic life by two-time Academy Award nominee Arjen Tuiten (Wonder, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife) based on concept designs from New Zealand’s WETA Workshop, along with VFX by Rogelio Salinas and Todd Perry (Black Panther, Avengers, and Doctor Strange). 

Morgan directs the action wonderfully. The screenplay, cowritten by Morgan and Eric Vespe, is taut and lean, starting right off the bat with tension between the sisters and then steadily building suspense once Heidi makes the decision to go into the restroom alone. The set design is eerie and icky, and Taylor Camarot’s cinematography captures everything splendidly. The cast is solid, with Snider getting most of the screen time, and Sarah Anne Williams also deserving mention for her work as the chilling beast. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Seek won Best Horror Short at FilmQuest 2020, which took place online and at The Velour in Provo, Utah, from May 21–29, 2021. 

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, 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.