John’s review published on Letterboxd:
Eraserhead, Narnia, and Krampus had a baby, and they named it Lamb (2021)
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This film is broken up into three parts, so I am going to review it as so.
Chapter 1: Erase-her-head?
We open with one of my favorite steady-cam shots I’ve seen in a while. The camera pushes over a snowy landscape revealing a barn. Inside are many sheep huddled together keeping warm. It’s Christmas.
My first thought when I saw the sheep, and honestly for the rest of the movie, was that these animals were most definitely paid actors. The first part of the film is like watching an eerie documentary about farmers. It’s simple and beautiful, and the cinematography is personally some of my favorite that I’ve seen in a long time. The whole movie is pretty slow-burn, but the first chapter, is very quiet. Nothing much happens, and our attention is drawn mainly to the incredible foley work. Audio plays a huge role in the film, and the way they used human cooing for Ada was brilliant. Although it’s a pretty uneventful section, there’s always a sense of dread, and the atmospheric horror is incredibly well executed.
Chapter 2: Mr. Tumnus?
The second half plays out like a weird comedy. More characters are introduced, and a little more of the mystery is revealed. The CGI is so incredibly lifelike, but just unrealistic enough to where it makes the audience incredibly uncomfortable. It’s very well done, but my first response was just awkward laughter, but it’s played so serious that I was always invested.
Chapter 3: Krampus?
The third half kind of left me scratching my head a little bit, and by the end you’re just kinda relieved when the film goes all out bonkers, because it took so long to get there. I love this kind of slow-burn atmospheric horror, but Lamb not only is a foreign langue film, but it’s just a bit too bizarre for me to really see it doing that well with American audiences. I watched the trailer after I saw the movie though, and they marketed it really well, at least as far as tone goes.
Anyways, this somehow manages to be a horror, comedy, and some weird kind of snuff film all in one, but this film will always have a weird little place in my A24 heart.