Described as the first feminist/vegan horror movie, The Herd certainly lives up to its moniker. Director Melanie Light took it upon herself to expose the exploits of dairy farming by shrewdly swapping cows for humans in the hope that people will finally take notice and think about where the milk in their cereal is coming from and just how barbarous the process really is.
The Herd portrays the short lives of women that are being used to create milk and breed more women, one particularly harrowing scene demonstrates what happens when they give birth to a male… The women are poked, beaten and humiliated on a daily basis by their captors, who seem to somewhat enjoy what they are doing. The parallels to the actuality of dairy farming are irrefutable. Cinematographer Bart Sienkiewicz does a fantastic job of getting as close to the brutality as possible, without making the viewer pass out in a pool of their own vomit. The original score by Laurent Barnard is also perfectly encapsulating of the mood of oppression and fear that the movie depicts so well.
Initially I was a little disappointed that there was no back story to the captors, I would have liked to have known how and when they got locked up in a cage, but as the film progresses, we are introduced to daughters of the captors, locked up in a separate room to their parents. We are prompted that this has been going for a long time, and the captors could be the product of many generations of women before them.
As a vegan myself, this review may seem slightly biased, but this is an important movie. In a time where there are countless cruelty free alternatives to dairy products, we are still needlessly torturing animals. The heart breaking video that plays over the end credits will surely drill this message home. Hopefully this film succeeds in it’s objective to show people the true horror in what goes on behind closed doors.
4 / 5
Dir: Melanie Light
Scr: Melanie Light, Ed Pope
Starring: Pollyanna McIntosh, Victoria Broom, Dylan Barnes, Sarah Jane Honeywell
Prd: Melanie Light
Music: Laurent Barnard
The Herd has appeared at a number of festivals and will be screened at:
-Vegfest ( UK ) Oct 2015
-Sitges Fantastic Film Festival ( Spain ) Oct 2015
-Celluloid Screams ( UK ) Oct 2015
-British Horror Festival ( UK ) Nov 2015
-Leeds International Film Festival ( UK ) Nov 2015
-Paris International Fantastic Film Festival ( France ) Nov 2015
-PDXtreme Fest ( USA ) Dec 2015