Black Sheep

That’s the thing about farms, Henry. Accidents happen!

Year Released : 2006

Director : Jonathan King

Cast : Nathan Meister, Peter Feeney, Danielle Mason, Tammy Davis, Oliver Driver and Tandi Wright

Perhaps a little better known that most films I know, the New Zealand comedy-horror “Black Sheep” first came to my attention in the early part of this decade. To this date I believe I have only seen three New Zealand made independent films, this, the excellent “Loved Ones” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”, and they’ve all been relatively enjoyable.

All of that being said, I have noticed that now I find it practically impossible to watch a film without reviewing it on some level, even if I’m not going to actually review it. This has meant that some films that I have previously loved have unfortunately not remained so after I started reviewing movies, so I hope that this remains as good as I remember it being.

Plot

Henry (Meister) is terrified of sheep after being jump scared during his youth by his brother Angus (Feeney). When they grow up Angus is planning on selling the family land and has actually been conducting medical experiments on sheep. One day a pair of animal rights activists steal a sample. One of them, Grant (Driver) trips and unleashing the experimental fetus that was inside, getting bit in the process. The fetus escapes to a nearby field full of normal sheep and bites them too, meanwhile Grant has to wander around, eventually meeting Angus and infecting him

Along with his friend Tucker (Davis) Henry soon runs into Experience (Mason), the other protestor and they just survive several attacks by the now mutated sheep, although Tucker is bitten. He seems fine at first but then it turns out that the infection is turning him into the sheep, and it isn’t long before the other infected start showing the same symptoms.

So is it still as good as I remembered or has my time reviewing films made me became jaded towards it?

I must admit that whilst I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to, I did still enjoy the little quirks here and there. For example, previously I had never noticed that Tucker seems surprisingly ok that his foot has transformed into that of a sheep’s hoof. He doesn’t even remotely freak out and seems to just accept it. Granted, the character is presented as being very laid back, but even then that is taking it a bit far.

His transformation highlights why this film is a lot better than most other horror films as the transformation is slow, taking several hours to take place in most places. The practical nature of this really helps and the way that they make the characters look a bit like sheep, even when they’re in the early part of the transformation, is quite impressive. The distinct lack of CGI is a welcome relief from most films these days.

The comedy may go over the head of some, but the horror movie is definitely there for those. There is something rather unsettling about being chased by a sheep, one of the most placid animals on the planet. It helps that the infected sheep look somewhat like normal sheep, it is hard to tell the different sometimes. One such example of them being a confusingly effective threat is a scene in which Angus is delivering a sales pitch and you can see a massive flock heading down a hill near them. There is something quite epic about it.

Acting wise it is relatively ok considering how low budget it must have been, but there is a somewhat noticeable lack of quality in places.

In many ways I could see how many people could see this and it’s premise, simply seeing another “Zombeavers”, but the two definitely don’t compare. “Black Sheep” may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is a relatively fresh entry into the genre.

Summary

“Black Sheep” is original, amusing and somewhat off putting in that is uses something that you wouldn’t normally be scared of. Whilst not scary really, it is definitely enjoyable.

If you get a chance to watch it then I would recommend it. Don’t go in expecting the next Cronenberg, Hitchcock or <insert random horror director here>, but you can expect a decent hour and a bit of entertainment.

By the way, the trailer below does work (well, at the time of writing anyway) despite it appearing to be a broken link.

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