Recent years have seen a resurgence in quiet and contemplative horror movies. The upside is many of these films have done a great job of moving the genre in risky new directions. This has not come without controversy, however. Many do not see these as true horror movies. They are decried for not making sense and are labeled boring.
The Other Lamb is a 2019 horror movie that will polarize audiences. The story centers on a female cult that serves their male leader. When the Flock are forced to find a new Eden, a young cult member named Selah begins to question Shepard. The methodical and narrative driven story addresses the patriarchy, religion, and self worth.
The film is beautiful. Director Malgorzata Szumowska focuses on the setting of The Other Lamb. Numerous scenes showcase the films setting. The opening and closing moments are stunning. The trek looks grand In scope and biblical in nature. Where most horror movie focus on creating tension, Szumowska highlights beauty.
The great direction is not limited to gorgeous shots. Szumowska uses unique shots to add to the atmosphere of her film. Odd angles enhance the twisted feel of the already warped reality. There are also many times The Other Lamb shows off the enormity of the world. This evokes a feeling of insignificance. It is strong visual storytelling.
The great work behind the camera makes up for some of the flaws of the plot. There is little backstory given to the Flock or Shepherd. It is never explained why the Flock follow Shepherd. There is also not much detail given into Selah’s sudden change. She goes from undying belief to outright rebellion. The audience does not need to know the complete answer to every question, but in this case, they are barely even clued in.
That being said, Raffey Cassidy is phenomenal as the rebellious Selah. Her change of heart may not be well explained, but she plays the part perfectly. Her initial reverence comes through Cassidy’s eyes. She truly believes everything Shepherd says. Her attitude and demeanor do a great change of getting across her ideological change. The performance stands out even among the film’s eye catching imagery.
The Other Lamb is a story driven horror movie that will not appeal to everyone. Forsaking standard scares and camera techniques, the film instead uses characters and – somewhat surprisingly- beauty to weave its tale. The plot forgoes traditional scares and instead attempts something more. The plot covers well trodden crowd, but no movie has ever looked better doing it.
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