In Theatres: 
Oct 08, 2021
Running Time: 
106 minutes

Lamb is one of the strangest films I’ve watched this year. It’s a slow burning film that does a good job at building tension with its bizarre and creative themes surrounding nature, nurture, and humanity, but it struggles to do anything with that tension or those themes. The lamb/human hybrid at the center of its story isn’t enough to keep the momentum going. As strange as everything may be, it unfortunately doesn’t make the film interesting or compelling enough.


María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) live a calm and quiet life together on their secluded Icelandic farm, spending their days taking care of the animals and working the land. One day while assisting a pregnant sheep give birth, a mutated hybrid with the head of a lamb but the body of the human is born. Rather than recoil in shock or horror, María and Ingvar embrace the creature as their own, naming her Ada after their own daughter who they lost. They continue to live their lives as a family now, but there’s something sinister lurking out in the distance, and it wants what is owed.


Lamb is marketed as a supernatural horror film and while the supernatural aspect is completely valid, calling it a horror film feels like a bit of a stretch. There are a few horror elements that mostly deal with the unseen creature that is stalking the farm, but the majority of the film is focused on exploring this unique family situation. It’s a bit strange because María and Ingvar don’t see it as that bizarre and act as if a lamb/human hybrid is a totally normal thing. Maybe they’re still in shock from losing their own daughter and they just want some normalcy at any cost. The film hints at this but struggles to actually dig deep and explore what that means. It’s only when Ingvar’s brother Pétur (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) arrives and points out how weird the whole situation is. 


Because Ada is treated so normally and we’re shown that a lamb/human hybrid isn’t that big a deal apparently, the film must find its conflict and drama elsewhere. The problem is that there really isn’t much else going on. Lamb has the potential to explore ideologies such as nature versus nurture or loss and grief, but it only glances over them. Both Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason deliver suitable performances, but I couldn’t help but want more from the film. It’s premise is enough to gain interest, but Lamb never quite delivers on the tension it builds.


I’m usually a fan of most films that A24 puts out, but Lamb is a rare breed of film that was able to grab my attention but failed to hold it. It has all the hallmarks of my kind of movie with a solid cast and an interesting premise, but its story ultimately comes up short.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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