Dr Lamb ★★★ 1/2 – Fantasia International Film Festival 2022

Dr Lamb ★★★ 1/2 – Fantasia International Film Festival 2022

Exploitative Cat III classic Dr Lamb leaves little to the imagination once our killer reveals all. A wild ride of a film that refuses to relent in its perversity and is one that you are not likely to forget anytime soon.

Summer 1982: A series of brutal murders have rocked Hong Kong. The bodies of four innocent young women have been found dismembered. The police have no leads until nude photos of one of the victims show up in a photo processing plant. Those photos are claimed by cab driver Lam Gor-Yu (Simon Yam), who shuts down once Inspector Lee (Danny Lee) question him. However, Lam soon confesses, and the true story of what happened becomes even more disturbing, shocking and horrifying. 

Uncomfortable, brutal, exploitative, Dr Lamb is all of those and then some. A film that created a slew of copycats that could never conjure the same magic as this 1992 film did. Simon Yam terrifies you as he carries the movie with his riveting performance. You simply cannot keep your eyes off him once he lets the real Lam out. This is a film that is an experience, but also one with some evident flaws.

What almost takes you out of Dr Lamb is the slapstick humour that writer Kam-Fai Law placed into it. We see some genuinely uncomfortable violence throughout the film. But these moments are juxtaposed with, the slappiest of slapstick making it just too jarring to comprehend. Those moments never really work, and for a film like this, it needs to be as straight as an arrow.

Make no mistake, though, there is a lot here to love, especially if you love your gore. If you do, then you are in for one treat as Lam Gor-Yu breaks down each of his murders in detail. However, this may not be the film for those wanting a touch more story to their horror. At times, Dr Lamb struggles to stop reveling in its own violence. Of course this is partly the point of the film, to see the results of an unhealthy upbringing. Yet, you want to delve a bit more into Lam’s life than to just see what resulted in his actions. There of course is the prologue, however it feels as if we need to see more of this as it is clear that Lam has layers. We see this thanks to Yam’s performance, he isn’t just a psychopath, he is a broken human.

With that said, there is strong writing here. The showing of the monstrosity’s that Lam have an unexpected link with the police. We see how violent they are with criminals, how little they care in suspects and their family. They want the answers and they will do anything to get them, even on multiple occassions stepping over the line to do so. They do this to the point early on that you almost feel pity for Lam. This allows us to ask questions about is Lam a blip in the world? Or is he a result of the world he lives in? The police do not blink an eye at enacting their rage on him, like he did to his victims. By giving us this clearly broken world full of fallible people, it is no wonder people like Lam exist.

This decision to avoid the chase of the killer and have it more as a retelling of his crimes, works wonders for the narrative of Dr Lamb. In fact it is one that was used an awful lot in the preceding years in Hong Kong cinema. It allows for a large amount of shock to reverberate within you. oping for Lam’s murderous exploits to end as quickly as possible. If you have not seen a Cat III film before, then you are in for an experience, and what better one to watch than Dr Lamb.

The awkwardness in Dr Lamb comes to recommending it. It is so violent that it is not exactly a film you could say to everyone “watch this!”. You have to know your audience with a film like this. For example, there is a reason not everyone goes off and tells the person in the street to watch A Serbian Film. Yet, for those who do enjoy things on the edgier side of the horror spectrum, fill your boots as you will love this.

★★★ 1/2

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