Black Sheep

Not starring Chris Farley and David Spade.


I heard of this movie when I found it as part of a "see it On Demand while it is in theaters!" sort of package. At first, I thought it was some extended/uncut version of the 1996 movie I referenced above (in the "not starring" bit). Watching the trailer, though, and finding out just how wrong I was...I knew I had to go ahead and watch it.

Sort of repeating what Undead did with a group of "unknowns" (some of which might be known, but not in the instantly recognizable sense, at least not in America) and a new director. Except, while Undead used SFX from another set of unknowns, Black Sheep uses Weta, the very well known SFX house. And, well, it uses them nicely.

After a prank goes awry on the day their father dies, Henry Oldfield (played by Nathan Meister) is scared of sheep. He, fifteen years later, comes back to his family sheep farm when his brother, Angus (played by Peter Feeney), offers to buy him out for full control of the farm. At about this time, borrowing heavily from 28 Days Later, a couple of eco-terrorists lets loose an evil upon a land. Genetic mutated sheep that spread by bite. You see, this is both a "swarm" flick AND a zombie flick. At least, it plays by many of the rules of the zombie flick, but uses sheep. And, well, it works.

All the right bits are there. Gore and some more gore. A few bad puns and a few bad "in-jokes". A love interest between Henry and the eco-terrorist Experience (played by Danielle Mason). A disease that escalates. Some more gore. Some more bad jokes. And, well, some more gore. In fact, probably about half of your enjoyment of this movie is going to be some combination of love of looking at gore, laughing at bad jokes, and looking at Experience. The other half of your mileage may vary depending on how much you like sheep and looking at scenes of New Zealand.

The most enjoyable aspect of this movie is the fact that, along with movies like Tremors, it knows its audience and it knows what it has to do. Not quite so heroic hero saves the girl? Check. Flaming sheep? Check. Smarmy scientist types getting what they deserve? Check. Offal pits? Check! (by the way, I want one of those "Offal Pit, Beware!" signs).

The downside tends to come in a sense of extending the movie a little much. A few scenes should probably be cut for time. What's more, a few of the attacks are too stretched out (like Tucker, the old friend of Henry, played by Tammy Davis, when he gets attacked by a sheep while trying to drive a truck in a scene that seems to recall aforementioned Tremors). Even when deadly, a sheep is still a sheep. The scenes with "balls of wool" taking people down at the edge of the screen or with quick blood-spurting cuts-away (no pun intended) worked a ton better than more detailed scenes.

And, well, I am not sure what was up with that one really white sheep towards the end of the movie. I think it was supposed to be creepy, and it worked. But, well, ok.

All in all, a definite recommend for anyone into horror movies with a good, hefty dose of camp and humor in them.

Written by W Doug Bolden

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