Title – Lamb (2021)
Director – Valdimar Jóhannsson (feature debut)
Cast – Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson
Plot – Icelandic farming couple Maria (Rapace) and Ingvar (Guonason) tend to a very different type of lamb that is born on their property, giving them a chance at a family life they’ve always dreamed of.
“She’s not used to strangers”
Review by Eddie on 20/05/2022
Film distribution company A24 have become a name brand synonymous with good quality out there horror offerings with the likes of Midsommar, The Witch, It Comes at Night, The Lighthouse and Hereditary all coming out of the wheelhouse of the company over recent times, meaning many genre fans were rightfully excited about the prospect of Icelandic “horror” Lamb appearing in the later stages of 2021.
Marketed as very much of the same type of experience those that enjoyed The Witch and The Lighthouse would enjoy, Valdimar Jóhannsson’s slow burning debut feature that centers its action on the farm of Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Guonason’s husband and wife Maria and Ingvar, as the two adopt a unique lamb from their flock and attempt to live out a typical family existence is not really at all a horror film bar a few brief moments and will likely frustrate many who were promised a different film than what the ingenious marketing team at A24 provided.
To say that Lamb offers viewers a strange and unique experience would be underselling just how bizarre Jóhannsson’s debut is, a visually stunning experience with the Icelandic backdrop providing perfectly ethereal and otherworldly vibes, there’s very little of Lamb’s tale that isn’t fairly out there and viewers are either going to be enthralled by its oddness or put off completely, with holding back of awkward laughter part of the parcel of unwrapping such a oddball offering.
Saying too much about what transpires in Lamb would ruin any of the fun one may find in its runtime but its not like a whole lot actually happens either, with the film content to plod along at a very cruisy pace as Maria and Ingvar go about their daily chores, get followed by nefarious seeming sheep and deal with Ingvar’s mysterious and unpredictable brother Petur whose appearance on their property could spell either salvation or danger to their way of life.
Everyone seems very committed to the cause and in some ways when considering just how strange the whole experience is Lamb could’ve and perhaps should’ve been far less watchable than it is but you do wish it had embraced its horror elements in a greater way or invested in creating more tension from scene to scene for as it stands as a finished product, Lamb has moments but its a mostly lethargic affair without the payoff one would’ve hoped for after sitting through it.
Final Say –
Prepare yourself for a dish that may not be what was advertised, Lamb is an incessantly odd experience without much horror to even out its strangeness, making it a pretty to look at and unique offering that fails to do anything worth making a fuss about.
2 1/2 rundown tractors out of 5
I can appreciate bizarre, but it also needs to be somewhat coherent and make sense to be enjoyable.
I felt like the inability for the film to make us care for the main characters was a big misstep.
“To say that Lamb offers viewers a strange and unique experience would be underselling just how bizarre Jóhannsson’s debut is, a visually stunning experience with the Icelandic backdrop providing perfectly ethereal and otherworldly vibes, there’s very little of Lamb’s tale that isn’t fairly out there and viewers are either going to be enthralled by its oddness or put off completely…” — Perfectly articulated.
Thanks Pugs, glad you agree! I loved parts of this film but never came together as a whole.
“Enthralled or put off, there is no in between, except for in those rare occasions of ‘meh’.” — Such is life.