Black Sheep (film, 2008)


A review of the New Zealand were-sheep comedy. From Death Ray 11.

THREE AND A HALF STAAAAAAARRS

2007/84mins /15

Director: Jonathan King

Writer: Jonathan King

Starring: Matt Chamberlain, Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Tammy Davis

Sheep based Kiwi horror comedy that’s not at all BAAAAAAAAD! (Sheesh, I’m wasted around here).

Sheep really aren’t all that menacing, and that’s where most of the laughs come from in this, watching inoffensive grass munchers graze on people. You’d think a bale of ambulatory wool rugby tackling a terrified scientist wouldn’t be that hilarious, but somehow it is.

The plague of ovine terror is unleashed when a pair of animal rights activists liberate some dodgy bio-waste from the farm of Angus Oldfield (Matt Chamberlain). who’s been trying to create the perfect sheep. One of the samples stolen by the hippies is a mutant lamb which transfers a need for flesh to its less frightening, un-GM’d cousins. If that weren’t bad enough, its dubious genes pass from beast to man, creating a plague of meat-hungry weresheep. Soon it’s manchops on the menu, and hold the mint sauce. But unlikely hero Henry (Nathan Meister), Angus’s severely sheep phobic brother, is on hand to stop the flock.

Black Sheep, as is probably self-evident, is extremely silly, a mix of gags and gore that follows in the tradition of Peter Jackson’s first movies. It’s just very… New Zealand, a film like this could only have been made there, and we are glad for it.

There’s a lot of talent in New Zealand, and Black Sheep looks remarkably polished, though its budget can’t have been that high, and the gorgeous landscapes give it a kind of ethereal beauty that’s a strange backdrop to the mutton mayhem. Disturbingly realistic carnivore sheep from WETA workshop give further cred to the flick. The violence is pure cartoon, though bloody, so that should please gorehounds. But the script is not quite sharp enough to really have you howling with laughter. It over-relies on killer sheep being amusing by themselves, when that’s really just the start of it. When it’s funny, it is very funny, but it’s not funny often enough. On the whole though, it is far better than any film with bestiality as a character motivation has any right to be. Buy it, and you won’t feel fleeced. Guy Haley

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