Dr. Lamb chronicles a police investigation wherein Lam Gor-Yee (Simon Lam) is arrested after police gain hold of a series of sexually graphic photographs he took. They connect the dots and gather evidence of something much more horrific than a possible homicide. Directors Danny Lee and Billy Hin-Shing Tang show viewers the truth through visually disturbing sequences that blend crime with horror, making you intentionally uncomfortable. Their intentions were probably to offer a character-centric story in its Category III narrative. However, their attempts to give any depth to Kam-Fai Law’s screenplay systematically fail as we watch this gory tale of crime, murder, and confession.
Their rationale to engage the audience in that discomfort could be to explore the culprit’s mentally unstable and abnormal attributes. However, that idea really doesn’t land appropriately as the narrative progresses. Several sequences force you to slide back off the edge of your seats and close your eyes out of horror, yet, they do not account for any outlook into the story or the central character. Instead, you constantly feel disgusted and hateful toward Lam as there’s no depth to his on-screen immorality and depravity. Furthermore, the film refuses to address the graveness of his psychopathic tendencies, which could have left the viewer aghast with unsettling questions.
“…Lam Gor-Yee is arrested after police gain hold of a series of sexually graphic photographs he took.”
The Category III rating is equivalent to NC-17 in the States, acting as a cautionary warning to the viewers regarding the possibly explicit and grotesque content contained within. Nevertheless, the filmmakers make good use of the Category III aspects of Dr. Lamb. The sequences, though unfulfilled (a lot of the death early on is just strangulation), will at least raise your pulse as Lee and Tang try to set up an intriguing reveal. Moreover, the directors further ensure that the abundant graphic nudity in the film is not tempting and adds to the film’s violent nature. It’s not easy for films with such explicit content to leave out titillation, but they are able to do just that here.
However, it’s the writing that will leave viewers dissatisfied. Firstly, the film deliberately loses the suspense in the plot. It’s pretty evident from the first few minutes who the culprit behind those graphic casualties is. The film essentially wants to focus on the confession that takes us back to the criminal activity. It tries to grasp the audience’s attention and direct it towards the frightful events and force them to think about these horrendous acts and tilt their brains out of shock. But that process really doesn’t work in the end. Instead, all it does is make you hate Lam, and that’s all there is. Secondly, the film, without a build-up to any climax, is told in a fashion wherein it is narrated as a story in the past tense. Unfortunately, this discards the enticing prologue that sets up the film.
"…Category III rating is equivalent to NC-17 in the States..."