Particular filming locations can hold a great deal of power for the production and the finished movie. The horror film Lamb is entirely set on a farm with few human characters to speak of. A gorgeous landscape surrounds the two leads as they begin to raise a lamb-human hybrid as their own child. Director Valdimar Jóhannsson was meticulous when location scouting and used one bizarre, yet humorous way to search for the perfect place for the A24 movie.
‘Lamb’ is a psychological horror movie set in a desolate landscape
Horror dramas like Lamb thrive off their environments. They are a visual feast for the eyes, but they also enhance the narrative and the characters’ journeys. Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) have very little interaction with other human characters. They’re isolated from society and interlocked with mother nature, further emphasizing the movie’s most pertinent themes.
Cinematographer Eli Arenson takes great advantage of the Icelandic farm’s breathtaking landscapes. Lamb often displays nature in a haunting manner. There’s a dreamlike quality that pulls the viewer into the frame and locks them in with Maria, Ingvar, and their lamb-human hybrid child.
‘Lamb’ director Valdimar Jóhannsson location scouted based on a little clay farm
Jóhannsson and Rapace answered questions at the Lamb post-West Coast premiere Q&A screening. One audience member asked about the Icelandic location and how they immersed themselves in it. “Yeah, we found this beautiful location,” Jóhannsson said. “We had been looking for a farm I think for, I don’t know how long, we drove two times around Iceland.”
Rapace humorously interjected, “He’d made a little clay farm, so he was looking for the farm he’d created in clay.” Jóhannsson continued, “I also sent photos of this clay model to many farmers.” Rapace added, “It didn’t exist, so he had to compromise. (Laughs)”
However, Jóhannsson pointed out that the final location ended up working out in their favor. “This farm that we found, it was not like the clay farm,” he explained. “But, it was interesting, had a beautiful landscape around it, and there was nothing around. Nobody had lived there for 20 years, so it was a perfect location.”
Rapace went into further detail regarding where Lamb was filmed and her experience on-set. “It was shot up in the north of Iceland outside a city called Akureyri,” she said. “It’s basically in a valley. It’s like an hour from the nearest gas station. When you drive into the valley, our phone dies. Everything just dies. (Laughs).”
Rapace continued: “You’re trapped in this environment where it’s like, we shot in the summer and it never goes dark. It was strange. It felt like we logged out of this world and entered the world that we stayed in for the summer. Slowly drowning and drifting away from reality.”
A24’s horror dramas
Lamb joins distributor A24’s growing slate of horror dramas. Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Midsommar, as well as Robert Eggers’ The Witch and The Lighthouse, are all included in this list. However, Lamb just might be their most peculiar horror drama to date. The slow-burn film about a lamb-human hybrid is certain to turn some heads.
Lamb is now playing exclusively in theaters. However, digital services and VOD will likely be the movie’s next stop.