LITTLE LAMB is the award-winning short recently released online from writer-director Heidi Lee Douglas. The film is a period piece, set in the 1800s, and tells the story of an Irish convict named Louisa (Georgia Lucy) who is desperate to escape the gruesome conditions of prison. Her saving grace arrives, but not in the form she hoped for or expected. A sketchy man named Mr. Black (James Grim) comes along, seeking to buy one of many female convicts as a personal slave of sorts. The trade-off is that Louisa gets to avoid the horrors of a British colonial prison, and so she offers herself up to Black believing him to look decent enough.
What follows next is a harrowing story of survival as Louisa quickly learns there’s not a decent bone in Mr. Black’s body. He’s cruel to her and forces her to perform laborious tasks around his home. He takes full advantage of her in the most disgusting of ways, and we quickly learn that Louisa has leaped out of the frying pan and into the flames. Her only companion throughout her time under Black’s control is a small lamb Black keeps on his property. He intends to eventually slaughter and eat the lamb for a meal, but as Louisa bonds with the animal, she begins to find the strength within herself to fight back.
Heidi Lee Douglas has made a compelling short film, to say the least, and while this short may not qualify as horror in the traditional sense, it’s every bit as scary as your worst nightmares. While many scenes are difficult to watch, this is a story of unseen and unheard victims. These kinds of stories are vital and remain excruciatingly relevant in our modern age. Aided by sublime performances from both Lucy and Grim, the short utilizes minimalistic sets and dramatic natural scenery to make itself feel larger than life. There’s without question an entire feature that can be found within this short, and Heidi Lee Douglas feels like a filmmaker ready to tackle such a challenge. Stunning cinematography and excellent writing allow the short to do a lot with very little, and the film benefits greatly from it.
While LITTLE LAMB is far from pleasant viewing, it’s without question important viewing. Difficult truths are still truths, and this is a reality that has existed in the past and continues to exist in some form or another today. Heidi Lee Douglas expertly uses history to comment on the eternal struggle and abuse of women, and LITTLE LAMB is a short that deserves to be seen and heard in our present social and political climate. I can’t recommend it enough.