Once upon a time, back in early March, I reported in a Word on the Street post that Lifetime was remaking The Bad Seed. In this post, I did share my thoughts about this movie news story, doubting that a remake of this classic film could work at all. Five months later, I reported in another Word on the Street post the release date for The Bad Seed remake. This time, my opinions about the potential of the film changed after I saw the trailer. I talked about how, based on the trailer, the film looked like it would not only be as dark as the original film, but that this new film would add more terror to the narrative. Now, Lifetime’s remake of The Bad Seed has finally arrived. Since I had a chance to watch this film recently, I can now talk about how I feel about this film. Did The Bad Seed meet or exceed my expectations? Keep reading my review to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: In The Bad Seed, the acting was really good! The biggest highlight of this film was Mckenna Grace’s performance! Even though she was one of the youngest cast members in this film, Mckenna brought so much believability to her role. Mckenna’s portrayal of Emma was so unique from the original 1956 film, with the characteristics of Emma appearing as a combination of the sophistication of Matilda (from the ’96 film) and the cynicism of Wednesday Addams (from the Addams Family films). If there are any upcoming award presentations where The Bad Seed could get nominated, I hope Mckenna receives an acting nomination!
The cinematography: I was pleasantly surprised by how good the cinematography was in this film! Some of the shots were beautifully filmed, the use of color adding to the overall appeal of the cinematography. An example of this is any time Emma is in the forest. Her outfits of bright colors provide a really good contrast to the darker colors of the forest. These creative decisions relating to the film’s visuals show how much thought and detail was placed on this aspect of the film.
The creative choices: Because The Bad Seed is a remake of the 1956 film, there are differences and similarities between Lifetime’s 2018 production and the original movie. However, the creative choices that the creative team behind this movie made helped this movie feel unique from its predecessor. One of these choices was Emma’s father being a widower. In the original movie, Rhoda’s family consisted of her, her mother, and her father. However, Rhoda’s father was in the military for the majority of the film. This creative choice allows for a new perspective to be told and a new voice to be added to the narrative. In both films, there is a character that suspects, from the beginning, the dangers caused by the child. While this character in the 1956 film was a caretaker at the apartment complex where Rhoda lived, a nanny named Chloe played the role of this skeptical character in the 2018 film. Even though these two characters have the same significance and demise, the differences between the characters themselves highlights the creativity and interesting perspectives that were incorporated into the Lifetime movie.
What I didn’t like about the film:
An inconsistent pace: The Bad Seed is known for being a suspenseful story. In the 2018 movie, however, there are more non-suspenseful moments throughout the film. Because of this, it made the pace of the film feel inconsistent, with some scenes feeling slower than others. For me, this didn’t bother me much. But for someone who is a fan of thrillers, it may be a little disappointing.
Emma’s father’s relationship status playing a small role: As I’ve already mentioned, one of the creative choices that was found in 2018’s The Bad Seed was Emma’s father being a widower. From a story-telling perspective, I was hoping that this creative choice would play a larger role within the context of the story. Maybe the boy who drowned could have been the son of a single mother who Emma’s father was interested in dating. The idea of the parent figure in The Bad Seed being a single parent was present, but not explored enough in Lifetime’s film.
My overall impression:
Movie remakes can be hit or miss. For me, a good remake has to be able to do two things: 1. Respect the original film and 2. Do something new with the story and provide your own voice to the narrative. Lifetime’s remake of The Bad Seed succeeded in applying both of those steps into their film! As someone who had their doubts about this film, The Bad Seed is just as good as the original. While the voice of the original can definitely be heard, this new voice accompanied that 62-year-old voice in a harmonious duet. I won’t spoil this movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but the way this movie ends gives Lifetime the opportunity to create a sequel if they choose to do so. I would, honestly, like to see a sequel to The Bad Seed, as it would allow this story to travel down creative avenues where the original film wasn’t able to go. But, going back to 2018’s The Bad Seed, this is one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen! I would definitely recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of the original movie!
Overall score: 8 out of 10
Have you seen The Bad Seed? Which version of the film is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!