It's rare that a film distribution and production company accumulates a diehard fanbase, but A24 has proven that it stands apart from the rest, as it takes chances on niche, and often bizarre, ideas. The indie entertainment company is behind some of the most beloved, thought-provoking, and downright weirdest films of the past several years, including Lady Bird, Hereditary, Midsommar, Moonlight, and Ex Machina.
A24's newest addition to the portfolio, and one of its most jarring entries yet, is 2021's horror drama, Lamb. With picturesque scenery boasting towering mountains, hilly open fields, and bleak foggy skies, Valdimar Jóhannsson's disturbing rural folk tale, and directorial debut, is visually stunning.
Perhaps the film is a love letter to Mother Nature, or perhaps it's a warning to those looking to get in her way. Either way, we're dying to visit the blissfully haunting filming location, in case we ever plan a backpacking trip. Here's where Lamb was shot.
What is A24's film 'Lamb' about?
First and foremost, we have to dive into the film's absolutely bonkers premise. The twisted arthouse film follows a recently-childless married couple who tend to a sheep farm in isolation. When one lamb is born ... different ... the husband and wife decide to raise the miraculous hybrid creature as their own. The baby is half-sheep and half-human.
Swedish actress Noomi Rapace plays Maria, a woman with a burning desire to be a mother again, while Icelandic actor Hilmir Snær Guðnason plays her equally empty husband, Ingvar. Themes of longing and incompleteness saturate their lives, that is until the unexpected arrival of their adopted daughter, so to speak. As you can imagine, after taking in the lamb-girl, things take a horrific turn. Someone, or something, wants its offspring back. A mother's love can truly be dangerous.
Where was 'Lamb' filmed?
Lamb's setting is naturally breathtaking, which makes sense considering it was filmed in green-as-can-be rural Iceland. But still, for cinematographer Eli Arenson to work his magic, Valdimar Jóhannsson had to find the perfect little farm. “Yeah, we found this beautiful location. We had been looking for a farm I think for, I don’t know how long, we drove two times around Iceland," Valdimar stated in response to a question after the film's West Coast premiere.
“He’d made a little clay farm, so he was looking for the farm he’d created in clay," said Noomi Rapace. “I also sent photos of this clay model to many farmers," Valdimar continued. “This farm that we found, it was not like the clay farm. 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.”
An abandoned Icelandic farm truly sounds like the perfect setting for a disquieting psychological thriller centered around a human-sheep hybrid. "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," Noomi said with a giggle.
“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," Noomi continued. In fact, the experience as a whole touched Noomi.
“I felt like I was kind of lost and found. I think that happens very rarely that you feel this immediate connection. Not just with the character, but with the whole story and the universe. I felt like I’ve been waiting for this, this is something that my entire being has been asking for," Noomi concluded.
Well, if you're looking to drift away from our reality and enter one featuring an adorable freak-of-nature livestock-girl, Lamb is currently playing in theaters. Perhaps the story will touch you the way it touched Noomi.