Black Sheep (2009)

Synopsis: There are 40 million sheepiin New Zealand…and they’re pissed off!

“Rife with bloody gore and funny gags” (Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times) Black Sheep is a gruesomely twisted horror/comedy about mutant flesh-eating sheep run amok in rural New Zealand. When sheep-aphobic Henry returns to sell his share of the family farm, he finds his brother has been genetically altering animals. The resulting monsters go on a murderous rampage, and it’s up to Henry to stop them. With frighteningly grotesque effects courtesy of Peter Jackson’s WETA workshop, Black Sheep is a frenzy of severed limbs and manic mutton definitely “not for the weak of stomach” (Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News).

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Black Sheep (2006) 7.75

Killer sheep. Those two words put together should be enough to steer anyone away from this movie. After all, sheep are neither dangerous nor could they even appear to be. In fact, the whole idea is rightly preposterous.

And that’s exactly why this film works. biggrin

‘Black Sheep’ knows how completely absurd its basic concept is. In fact, it was probably put together BECAUSE it is patently absurd. Someone probably thought up the idea of rampaging sheep on a late-night boozefest, and everyone else thought it was so funny that it deserved to be made.

I dismissed it wholly when I first heard of it. I figured, “Oh, it’s going to be one of those, is it? Another crappy Syfy-quality film that’s even less entertaining than it appears at first glance?”. But then I saw the trailer, and I laughed my butt off. And then I read some good things about it.

Then I found a guy who was selling his copy for 5$. The trap was set, and I happily fell right into it. smile

By then I was really curious to see this masterpiece and, if not for the fact that October was coming soon and that I was in the middle of a superhero-film extravaganza most of this summer, I would have been all over this like a lonely shepherd. But with my pants on (…for the record! wink).

From the get-go, it has to be said: it’s a movie with frickin’ psycho sheep!!!

With this in mind, one simply has to expect that the story will be bare-bones because the filmmakers have other sheep to fry. Surprisingly enough, though, the story is actually not half-bad (all things considered): they put together semi-credible characters in a semi-credible situation and had them do semi-credible things. Most popular horror films can’t even claim this. confused

Personally, I loved that ‘Black Sheep’ injected commentary about genetic engineering, big business/corporate responsibility, and that it there was a socially-conscious character in it; it gave the film a conscience you wouldn’t expect. Sure, it was likely done tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek, but it was this side of being farcical. Thus, it managed to make its point… and provided levity in the process.

Nevertheless, it’s still a ridiculous premise… But, if you accept that there are killer sheep on the loose and a few weresheep wandering about, then you’ve got a decent enough story packed with moments of grin-inducing lunacy. laughing

But enough about the story already… what everyone wants to know is: what about those frickin’ psycho sheep?

I’m pleased to report that they actually managed to make the sheep scary; in some scenes, the way they just stood there and stared was actually pretty creepy… ominous even. shock Oh, sure, the puppetry was oftentimes very low-budget (the first one we saw was clearly a hand puppet!), but it was so very funny and entertaining. And it’s not like I expected more than this anyway. wink

As well, the sheep attacks were wildly enjoyable! They were so “out there” that they elicited gleeful laughs from me time and again. biggrin For good or bad, the violence got to be relatively cartoony. Not all the time, mind you, but the first attack by a killer sheep reminded me of ‘Army of Darkness’ a little bit. As for the rest, well… the sheep were pretty wild in their execution(s): they would ram through things, slam into people, graze faces off, …etc.

The funny thing is, they could easily be kept at bay by sheepdogs. But, really, where do you find a good sheepdog when you really need one? I kept hoping that Babe would come and save the day (I’m a big fan!)(no, really!). Alas… no such luck. crying

Unexpectedly, this film had one of the most dynamic audio tracks I’ve heard lately – which is surprising for this type of movie and the budget it must have had. The sounds effects were often isolated in corners of the room, instead of providing a fuller sounds, but there was so much going on that it was a blast to hear it all anyway. Loads of fun. Plus there were many immersive moments, with music and nature sounds filling the soundscapes. love struck

Bottom line: ‘Black Sheep’ spells F-U-N. This was one of this month’s most highly anticipated films, and it delivered – although not enough to make it the most memorable of the bunch. I’m not really sure how much replay value it truly has, but I’d certainly recommend it to fans of films like ‘The Evil Dead’, and I will watch it again. Heck it’s worth if only for that great ending, which was completely silly, but totally appropriate. laughing

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