Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson | Iceland/Sweden/Poland | 2021 | 106 mins
Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) are a sheep-farming couple living and working in rural Iceland. Together, they perform their daily domestic tasks on the farm quietly and methodically, as they silently grieve unspoken loss in their past. However, one day their routine is disrupted by an alarming discovery in their sheep barn. Unsettling as the new arrival may be, it also presents the couple with a second chance at happiness – a chance which Maria is unwilling to pass up. As the couple resolutely set about shaping their new lives as a family, a sinister presence is approaching, and soon Maria and Ingvar will be forced to face the devastating consequences for defying the will of nature.
Valdimar Johannsson's feature debut is a disquieting combination of icy slow-burn drama, absurdist humour, and disturbing folkloric genre elements. The disorienting near-constant daylight of lambing season in Iceland creates troubling visual contrasts, while providing a stark, eerie backdrop for the horror that unfolds; from the stillness of the empty mountains beyond the farm, to the rolling grey fog which drifts in and out of frame, these elements combine to build an ominous sense of dread, hinting at an unseen presence which lurks within the landscape. An original take on nature vs nurture and parental anxiety, LAMB is an auditory and visual nightmare which resides deep in the queasy and harrowing discomfort of the uncanny valley.