The Bad Seed (2018) – Review

TV movie The Bad Seed airs September 9th on Lifetime.

[Ed. note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]

By Ariba Bhuvad

Lifetime is known for its suspenseful, murderous, twisty, turny plots so it’s no surprise that the remake of the 1956 psychological thriller, The Bad Seed, would find its home on this network. However, the movie fell short of expectations and wasn’t at all what my personal hopes were for the story it was going to tell.

So what is The Bad Seed about? A single father, played by Rob Lowe (who is also an executive producer on the film), is raising his daughter, Emma (Mckenna Grace) on his own when tragedy strikes at her school. But as the story continues, the audience as well as the father start to realize that Emma isn’t exactly the poster child for well-behaved. In fact, a string of unexplained deaths before and after the school tragedy allude to the fact that Emma is the one behind it.

On the surface and through most of its core this is very much a Lifetime-esque movie. But it just fails to deliver in so many ways. But before diving into what made this movie so not great, it is important to point out that despite Lowe’s less than mediocre acting and the anti-climactic moments that should have been more horrifying, Grace shines as the young psychopathic murderer. She plays freaky and creepy surprisingly well, and even though the movie failed to meet expectations, she made it worth watching.

Back to what makes this movie fall short of a great psychological thriller is the failure to create suspense in the typical horror movie fashion. Yes, there’s creepy, foreboding music and appropriately placed “jump out of your seat” moments but they just don’t create that feeling that scary movies should. Like previously mentioned, it felt so incredibly anticlimactic and of course, was so predictable until the very end–even the final scene.

Given that they had Grace and Lowe’s talents in their arsenal, and a classic horror movie to go off, I was expecting way, way more. It’s disappointing that the movie could and should have been much more but just didn’t quite hit its mark. Luckily, it wasn’t all horrible and watching Grace channel the creepy murderous child was at times quite frightening.

If you’re looking for a mediocre freaky movie, this may meet your standards but don’t expect to lose sleep over it or walk away feeling that it really shook you to your core. It could have been better – way, way better.

I give The Bad Seed a C-.