Noomi had a little lamb in this Icelandic folk horror tale of a farming couple (Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason) raising a sheep as their own.

That’s why mums go to Iceland.

The debut feature from Valdimar Jóhannsson, Lamb is the latest in a slewe of livestock-based indie flicks (The Witch, Shepherd, Pig) and another ovine offering from the arthouse farmhouse A24. In light of this deathstock trend the film appears more sheeplike than unherd of, the weirdest thing about Ada the lamb’s story being the sense that we have seen herbivore.

Where Titane built so enigmatically on its illogical setup, Lamb never transcends its premise. Jóhannsson takes it literally, missing the lambiguity of his A24 stablemates The Lighthouse and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. When Black Phillip speaks in The Witch we flock with it in a way that is impossible here, partly due to CGI that makes the movie look like if M. Night Shyamalan had written Stuart Little. Which he did.

Unlike the annoying mouse Ada has no personality, while the human characters, themes and storylines are underdeveloped to the point of baaahring. Viewers will likely feel fleeced by the pretentious chapter headings (a type of branding for the genre) and a slowness that will leave you counting sheep, a result of not having enough narrative meat on its bones.

Despite its sheer scenery and striking cinematography, Lamb has neither the creepiness nor comedy required of such a woolly yarn. Until the inevitable sequels (Black Ada II, Black Ada the Third, Black Ada Goes Forth) it would behoof you to seek out the stunning Swedish picture Border over this unramarkable case of nothing dressed as lamb.


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