Review: Lamb – Not baaaaa-d (or Silence of the humans)

"Lamb" is worth seeking out during its U.S. release, especially if you want to experience a different, more quiet and creepy kind of horror film ...
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Movie review: Lamb

Not baaaaa-d (or Silence of the humans)

Rating: 8 out of 10.

If you think that long days in midnight sun while isolated in the Icelandic wilderness might drive you a little cray-crazy, well, the new film, Lamb, is here to confirm that notion.

Co-written and directed by Icelandic filmmaker Valdimar Jóhannsson, this is the story of a humble, childless couple on a remote farm in the middle of nowhere, who are surprised that one of their sheep gives birth to human/lamb hybrid.

The couple, Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) and Maria (Noomi Rapace, whom you might remember from 2012’s Prometheus), take the child, Ada, in as their own and raise it as a human infant, never really questioning the how or why of the creature’s existence.

Ingvar’s ne’er-do-well brother, Pétur (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), shows up one day and he says and asks all the questions that a normal person would, but even he eventually is won over by little Ada’s innocent charm.

Did I say innocent? I did? Okay, let me backtrack a moment and say that Lamb is sort of the Icelandic version of Rosemary’s Baby. It is atmospherically creepy as hell and you just know that despite its relatively calm tone and beautiful scenery, this story is never going to end well.

I don’t think they can give an acting award to an actual sheep, but Ada’s screen-mom in this movie delivers an amazing performance (and the human actors are not so bad either). Kudos are also in order for the film’s cinematography by Eli Arenson, who makes the amazing Icelandic landscape a character unto itself.      

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While watching this movie, I found myself asking several times, “What is it about sheep that is so unsettling and unnerving?” (If you feel that way too, by the end of this film I think you’ll understand the reason why.)

Lamb is worth seeking out during its U.S. release (currently playing in the Phoenix metropolitan area), especially if you want to experience a different, more quiet and creepy kind of horror film.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.