The Other Lamb: Frightening Horror About the Majority in a Cult

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The other lamb

The premise: A group of girls and women live in a mysterious isolated complex with a man they call “Shepherd”. At the dawn of puberty, a pious young woman begins to wonder about the world in which she grew up.

What is it about: The other lamb (by director Małgorzata Szumowska) is strange and strikingly beautiful. The film merges two familiar territories of horror – cults and the body of women – into a dread-drenched Bildungsroman.

The story focuses on Selah (Raffey Cassidy), who is in her early teens. She lives with the exclusively female group in the woods, where they raise sheep and live off the grid. The girls wear blue dresses; women wear red dresses. The separation reflects their different roles in the group: a blue dress means you are a “girl” and a red dress means you are a “wife”.

These are not understatements. Selah grew up in this group, a sect that functions like a large polygamous family, with the man they call Shepherd (Michiel Huisman) as their beloved and unquestionably obeyed leader. Wives are women in dire circumstances that Shepherd found and brought into her fold, and who adore her for the way he cares for them and makes them feel seen and special. The girls are children the women have brought to Shepherd. Selah, the eldest daughter, is Shepherd’s favorite.

Shepherd seems nice at first, but as Selah matures and then experiences her period for the first time, her relationships with the man who is her father and the women who serve and love him begin to change. They change even more when she meets Sarah (Denise Gough), who lives on the outskirts of the community, seemingly avoided but reluctant to leave the group. And with Selah’s growth in femininity comes a change in his beliefs.

The other lamb remember all of The witch and The tale of the servant at Rosemary baby and Carrie. Horror has long been interested in the female bodies that are used and abused by men, and how they often become inextricably linked to twisted religious devotional practices.

Which makes The other lamb feeling fresh is the way Szumowska makes his world – in bright colors and ink blacks, with slow zooms that transform their placid pastoral life into something strange. She cuts away from a face in the middle of the cry, or nests a scary picture in a frame so it’s surprising when you suddenly see it. Cold and precisely designed scenes allow a clear juxtaposition with images of blood, violence and birth. And the feeling that something very wrong is happening here is inscribed in each precise and disturbing plan.

Critical reception: The other lamb obtained generally favorable reviews from critics. At SlashFilm, Marisa Mirabal writes that “The other lamb is a festering wound from a film, which causes prolonged pain and suffering but offers collective understanding. “

How to watch it: The other lamb is available on a variety of cable and on-demand services, including Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

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