Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Sacred Lamb, Graphic Novel

It isn't just a “final girl” support group. It is a whole community. Instead of witness protection, they have all been relocated to this top-secret, maximum-security community, for the sake of those around them, who might be collateral damage of their would-be slashers’ copycats and other selves. That doesn’t mean they are happy about it (they would also probably object to the term “final girl”) in Tim Seeley’s graphic novel Sacred Lamb, with art by Jelena Dordevic, which goes on-sale digitally today (with a tradepaper edition coming 7/25).

Shallow influencer Kellyn West just barely survived the stalker who was targeting her and her friends. Given the public notoriety surrounding the case, she is dispatched to Sacred Lamb, the ultimate “gated community,” for her own “protection.” Everyone there can identify with her recent ordeal, except the security personnel, who are weirdly judgy.

Sacred Lamb’s undisclosed location is supposed to be a secret, even from high-ranking law enforcement officials. Yet, soon after West’s arrival, one of her biggest unboxing fans is found brutally murdered. Suspicion sort of falls on the community’s most notorious and socially awkward survivor, but it is pretty obvious from the start who the surprise villain will be, at least for experienced horror fans.

The premise of
Sacred Lamb is rather clever, embracing the hip knowing meta-ness of some of the best recent horror comedies. However, Seeley lets periodic virtue-signaling get in the way of the fun. The dialogue is definitely message-heavy. The point-of-view is unsubtly amplified by the depiction of law enforcement personnel, who are almost as nasty as the serial killers and their copy cats.

A major theme of
Sacred Lamb is the notion that survivors are more than victims, but much of the characterization hardly goes any deeper than their victim status. The idea is clever and the big attack on Sacred Lamb holds great cinematic promise, but the graphic novel fails to make the most of its promise. It just should have been better, so it is hard to really recommend Sacred Lamb when it releases today (4/26) on Kindle and later (7/25) in a tradepaper edition.