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Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE OTHER LAMB

the other lamb review
A cult member begins to question her leader's actions.

Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: MaΕ‚gorzata Szumowska

Starring: Raffey Cassidy, Michiel Huisman, Denise Gough, Kelly Campbell

the other lamb poster

Folk-horror has been around for a long time; however, it seems as of late it has been making a huge comeback with films like The Witch and Midsommar. In the latest addition to the sub-genre, director MaΕ‚gorzata Szumowska's The Other Lamb, Selah (Raffey Cassidy) is a young woman who was raised in a cult consisting solely of women, expect for a man named Shepard (Michiel Huisman). The members have to up and leave for a destination Shepard generically refers to as their ‘Eden’, which not so subtly refers to paradise. Along the way, Selah starts to grow discontented with Shepard and his rules.


the other lamb review

I find religious/cult horror terrifying because unlike zombies or vampires or giant monsters, there are many examples of real life murder and mayhem within or in the name of certain groups. The Other Lamb has all the trappings of a moody and powerful movie but feels tame in its delivery. My biggest issue with the film is how you never get a good sense of world building, thus everything comes off as super generic. We get a brief scene of Shepherd during a sermon but again it's so basic it's laughable, and again it's frustrating because we never get a clear picture of what this cult's worldview is.

[ READ MORE: Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson ]

It also gets a bit confusing. It's established pretty early on that women who get their period are considered unclean, yet one woman is pregnant and others have children. There is also a lot made of Selah’s mother, which is never fully explained. We get this weird flashback of Selah in a school jacket, but again we don’t really get any context behind it. It's unclear, and I guess it means she had a life outside of this cult, but I feel like her overall arc would have been stronger if this life had been something she was born into. I don’t need everything spoon fed to me but I think you need a strong sense of the rules and world in order to get fully invested. We also never get to know the characters all that well and it also doesn’t help when we have such a large cast.


the other lamb review

Overall, it feels unsatisfying and smacks of writing that isn’t thought out as well as it could have been. Szumowska doubles way down on lamb imagery, which starts coming off a bit pretentious. There are some disturbing scenes, but again they lack impact because we have so little knowledge about the world and the motivation behind Shepard or indeed, anybody involved.

[ READ MORE: Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - The One Missed Call Trilogy (Part One) ]

If I have to say something nice about the film it's that Cassidy gives a strong performance. She is an actor that has had an interesting career and at only 18 has worked with the likes of Robert Zemeckis, Brad Bird, Tim Burton and Yorgos Lanthimos, to name a few. Cassidy seems to choose very bold and interesting films and I am excited to see what she does next.


the other lamb review

I always love when filmmakers utilise natural locations and I appreciate it more knowing this makes the shoot more difficult. As a result, the film has a sharp and bitter sense of dread and isolation juxtaposed with a kind of stark beauty. I will give Szumowska credit as she does inject style into the film. If only the writing was as finely tuned, this would have been a deeply unsettling classic in the making. Sadly, this is not the case. While I like a less-is-more movie, I found it to be nothing special and to be blunt, forgettable. I can see this movie having a small cult following but I think it will fly under the radar. If you like cult films about cults, which also have an engaging world, I recommend watching the sorely underrated Jug Face (2013).



The Other Lamb is currently scheduled for a UK/ROI cinema release on July 3rd.





Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.