This weird folkloric film called Lamb, from the stable of Valdimar Johansson, has raised the eyebrows of many horror aficionados and film critics alike. It’s a story about a couple, living in the rugged countryside of Iceland, who receive a gift from nature that they never expected – a way to alleviate the pain they were going through. The tone of Lamb is quite similar to that of The Witch by Robert Eggers. Desolation, strange and frightening loneliness, a building standing silently for ages, as well as dark mystery behind the relationship between humans and animals – there are a lot of things that the two films share. Reviewing the film based on the captivating fascination that it deals with, without giving out the central element is really tough.
Johansson Penned The Script
The original script was penned down by Johansson along with Sjon, the novelist, poet, screenwriter, and lyricist from Iceland, who also happens to be the co-writer of The Northman – the Viking revenge drama by Robert Eggers. The images that introduce the film to the viewers at the beginning, give out a feeling that this is going to be a hell of a cinematic experience for film lovers, something they wouldn’t want to miss out on. As the name suggests, animals have a central part to play in the film. They are sensitive to and highly conscious of their surroundings. They can also sense the presence of any intruder, which not only applies to the livestock, but also to the sheepdog and the cat that lives with Maria and Ingvar. This keeps the tension brewing in the film.
The Movie Stars Are Icelandic And Swedish Superstars
Maria and Ingvar are played by Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason, respectively. Noomi is a Swedish actress, having starred in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows as Madame Simza Heron, in Prometheus as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, and in Daisy Diamond as Anna. She was also seen in the Millennium series. She was confident in doing an Icelandic movie as she had spent her childhood in Iceland. On the other hand, Hilmar is quite a popular actor in Iceland. He has been a regular on stage and in films. Some films that he has been a part of include Guy X, Blueprint, and 101 Reykjavik. In the movie Lamb, Maria and Ingvar look satisfied with their lives while raising sheep, but somehow the quietness reveals how badly the couple wants a child. The main plot unfolds 40 minutes into the film.
One night, Maria and Ingvar discover a weird thing in their barn. One of the sheep gives birth to a creature that has a lamb’s head and a baby’s body. They have no clue of what happened and how that creature got there. The answer is not known, but viewers are completely clueless when they see the couple raising the creature as their own child. But who is she? How did she come there? What made the couple cling to it so badly? The premise is certainly bizarre. However, this is one major factor that has raised everyone’s curiosity. Whoever has seen the feature at the Cannes Film Festival has commented that though Lamb is mentally disturbing, it says a lot about the anxiety of a childless parent. It is a tale of how nature and nurture can result in a nightmare. The movie also includes Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, and Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson in its cast.
Johansson’s Directorial Debut
Johansson has directed a feature film for the first time. However, he has previously proved his ability as an expert of special effects with Prometheus, Rogue One, and Game of Thrones. He has dealt with the half lamb-half-human creature with full-on severity and that has certainly made people more inquisitive of what actually lies beneath the wraps. The official trailer was released on YouTube on July 27th, 2021, and has garnered close to two million views. The cinematography has been done by Eli Arenson. Agnieszka Glinska is the editor of the film and the music has been composed by þorarinn Guðnason. Lamb was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on July 13th, 2021, and is slated for release on October 8th of the same year in the United States. The total running time is 106 minutes.
This is surely going to be a treat for those who love horror and supernatural stuff when it hits the theaters. Valdimar Johansson is definitely ready with a masterpiece.
Warning: don’t watch it if you think the theme and plot might unsettle you.