Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska places her English-language debut somewhere between “The Witch” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”. THE OTHER LAMB. We will reveal in our review whether the horror drama comes close to these two role models in terms of quality.
The shepherd (Michiel Huisman) and his sheep…
Using the young Selah (Hebrew for “prayer”), “The Other Lamb” tells the story of shaking up existing traditions (even though they are so questionable that you can hardly call them that). In terms of staging, Malgorzata Szumowska mixes the character drama surrounding a woman whose eyes gradually open with visual horror influences, but without jump scares or other shocking moments; Selah’s rebellion is accompanied by bloody visions – menstruation as a sign of growing up also finds symbolic application here once again. Raffey Cassidy (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) mimes the rebel, who appears significantly more self-confident than her sisters from the start, who begins her rebellion in silence and finally expresses it to the outside world – even to the shepherd. Her multi-layered performance carries the film with ease. Also the breathtaking landscape panoramas from cameraman Michal Englert (“Blinded by the Lights”) not only captivate with the rich colors. In particular, the play with proportions and viewing angles results in a consistently distorted perception. The very first shot leaves its mark on the viewer’s brain, as the camera peeks through a waterfall from which Raffey Cassidy’s face peeks out for just a fraction of a second. When she plays a trick on one of her sisters a short time later by making her believe that she sees something behind the masses of water, only to scare her shortly afterwards, Englert then persists long enough for one to actually suspect the face of the devil in the rock walls . In “The Other Lamb,” everything is poisoned from the start.
Conclusion: The horror-influenced cult drama “The Other Lamb” tells of cross-generational power structures with the help of a strong leading actress and fantastic camera work. Only the symbolism used seems hackneyed here and there.
“The Other Lamb” is scheduled to be shown at Fantasy Filmfest Nights this year.