Today: July 20, 2024

Lamb is one of those films that to review too closely is to perhaps spoil much of what is good about it. Part horror, part rural drama with a splash of folklore weaved in for good measure it is unlike anything you’re likely to have seen before. It is, suffice to say, an intriguing and often disturbing little film.

Maria (Noomi Rapace) and husband Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) live on their isolated farm somewhere in Iceland. Clearly experiencing some kind of trauma the couple are delighted when one of their sheep produces an offspring unlike any they have seen before. Adopting Ada as their own the couple seem to fall into content family bliss, but there is a darkness in the world they have created.

In many ways Lamb could easily have been a short film, the plot is never anything more than an idea but in taking a languid, often dream-like pace it immerses you in a way that has you seeing the world differently after the credits have rolled.

Director Valdimar Jóhannsson allows his lens to drift across the stunning vistas of Iceland. The sound design picks up the smallest of nuances so as to make even the most irrelevant of details feel significant. The results are often profound and unsettling in equal measure.

This is not horror in a cower behind a cushion but rather horror that plants seeds of images and ideas in your mind to let them grow and ultimately give you chills.

In the central role Rapace once again demonstrates why she is such a powerful screen presence. Her Maria is often hypnotised and dreamlike yet always in command of her actions. The final image leaves you both proud and slightly concerned about what she is capable of.

The conclusion is perhaps not as satisfying as the set-up promises but Lamb is nonetheless a film of visual prowess that will get under your skin and leave you dazed.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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