Vivendi Entertainment has included a short horror gem among the special features that accompany SeedRichard Gale's multiple award-winning Criticized.

The story of a filmmaker's revenge against a highly critical critic, Gale's film sports one of the most purely uncomfortable sequences in recent horror cinema (hint:  don't watch the trailer on YouTube or elsewhere if you don't want to spoil the shock you're in for). Boll's film, by contrast, often tries to achieve the same sort of effect (especially in the unrated DVD version) but despite some interesting ideas and a really nasty atmosphere, can't muster the transgressive--and creative--spirit of Gale's work. There must be a story behind how these two films got paired, but I'm just grateful that an indie such as Criticized has been given the chance to reach a wider audience like this.



Interestingly, I felt that the two films' running times could be effectively swapped. After all, Boll's central conceit is not a bad one: a killer that the state is too lazy and dumb to execute properly comes back as a kind of metaphor for "The Return of the Repressed." Yet there are entirely too many drawn-out tracking shots through shadowy sets, the kind that keep your finger poised above the fastforward button. How much more effective would Seed have been if the monster were caught and executed in the first ten minutes or so, leaving another ten minutes to wrap things up in a succinct, distilled way? On the other hand, while Criticized clocks in at an optimal 18 minutes, one senses that there must be other compelling stories to tell about twisted auteur Arthur Lements. Fortunately, Gale seems to be hard at work delivering just such a feature-length work for horror fans.