THE OTHER LAMB is a new horror drama from IFC. It’s dark and intense in a nightmarish way that’s told in a slow-burner way. The director is known for her amazing vision and that does also come across here. Read more in our full The Other Lamb review here!
The Other Lamb is a new movie from IFC. It’s labeled as a horror-drama on IMDb which isn’t wrong, but I can imagine many would argue that this isn’t horror. That’s not an argument I’ll go into today. To me, the movie is whatever the director intended.
And it certainly does play out like a nightmare which is traditionally horror-related.
This is the first English-language feature film by director Małgorzata Szumowska. She’s known for her a very direct and specific vision for her movies. Basically, her movies don’t look like everything else you see. It is also a slow-burner which is key to this style of storytelling.
Continue reading our The Other Lamb review below.
The horror of a cult
Yes, there’s that word “horror” again, but anything that deals with cults feels like horror to me. With The Other Lamb, the focus is on some of the very basic horrors of being in a cult. You are forced to lose any sense of self and obey the leader.
In the case of The Other Lamb, the cult leader is called “Shepherd” because all of the girls (his wives and daughters) are his flock. Yes, they are literal sheep to this cult leader. Also, since there are only women and girls, you can imagine that any boy being born doesn’t last long.
Furthermore, since the girls can only be wives or daughters, I’m sure you can guess what happens to the daughters when they grow up. Yes, they become wives!
The Other Lamb doesn’t show us anything that we haven’t already seen in documentaries about cults. And still, it just feels grotesquely creepy to see it play out like a movie. Małgorzata Szumowska has truly managed to create a sinister environment that seems to be against these women in every single way.
The daughters are born into this world whereas the wives have made active decisions to become part of it. I am appalled and angry but mostly, I want to understand. I just don’t think I ever will.
The cast of The Other Lamb
The main character in The Other Lamb isn’t the cult leader, Shepherd. Instead, it’s the young girl on the cusp of womanhood. In other words, the girl who will soon go from daughter to wife.
The young girl in question is Selah who is played perfectly by Raffey Cassidy, who is just enigmatic in the most unbelievable way. You probably recognize Raffey Cassidy from The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) which will be on Netflix in the US from April 5, 2020.
Recommended reading: See all the genre movies and TV series coming to Netflix in April 2020 >
Shepherd is played by Michiel Huisman. Most may recognize him from the early seasons of Game of Thrones, but horror fans probably think of The Haunting of Hill House now. He played the oldest brother, Steven Crain, in that amazing Netflix series (read our review here). Also, he was in Karyn Kusama’s amazing horror-mystery The Invitation (2015).
You might like: Our review of The Invitation here >
Finally, I wanted to mention Denise Gough. In The Other Lamb, she plays Sarah who is a wife that is no longer in Shepherd’s good graces. She is “a broken thing” but comes across as stronger than most of the others. That’s probably why she’s considered “broken”.
You might know Denise Gough from Colette (2018) or season 3 of The Fall TV series starring Gillian Anderson.
Watch The Other Lamb on digital platforms
The Other Lamb was directed by Malgorzata Szumowska from Poland. She previously directed and co-wrote Elles (2011) starring Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche. Malgorzata Szumowska has already won multiple awards for her movies and has more movies in the making now.
The script for The Other Lamb was written by C.S. McMullen. Horror fans should already be familiar with her work from the horror anthology Two Sentence Horror Stories. In fact, I’m very happy to say that she worked on my absolute favorite episode in that anthology.
You might like: Our review of the horror anthology Two Sentence Horror Stories here >
I don’t think The Other Lamb is for everyone. However, it should fit perfectly with the viewer who enjoys slow-burn stories that have a more alternative and dreamlike approach to storytelling. I really enjoyed part of this movie but I did find it to be both too long and too slow at times.
Still, it is a fascinating watch that I won’t forget anytime soon. And yes, I do mean that as a compliment.
The Other Lamb will be available On Demand and digital platforms from April 3, 2020.
Director: Małgorzata Szumowska
Writer: Catherine S. McMullen
Stars: Raffey Cassidy, Michiel Huisman, Denise Gough
For her entire life, the cult she was born into has been all that teenage Selah (Raffey Cassidy) has known. Along with a band of similarly cloistered young women she lives seemingly unstuck in time, cut off from modern society in a remote forest commune presided over by a man called Shepherd (Michiel Huisman), a controlling, messiah-like figure with a frightening dark side. But when her insular world is rocked by a series of nightmarish visions and disturbing revelations, Selah begins to question everything about her existence—including her allegiance to the increasingly dangerous Shepherd. Awash in images of primal, dreamlike dread, this provocative fable is a haunting vision of adolescent awakening and revolt.
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