Note: This is the New Zealand horror-comedy from a few years back, not the Chris Farley/ David Spade horror-comedy from the decade prior.
To watch BLACK SHEEP all the way through – what’s more, to enjoy it – you need to have been born with, or have developed somewhere along the line, a very specific sense of humor. This is a movie from New Zealand about an outbreak of murderous sheep, which is an inherently, terrifically, hilariously, monumentally stupid premise.
There is nothing at all scary about sheep; they are some of the funniest animals on earth. Like all of the great funny animals, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why sheep are so funny: maybe it’s the sounds they make; maybe it’s the way they stand; maybe it’s the sounds they make while they stand that way.
The creature effects are by Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop, best known for their work with Peter Jackson on the LORD OF THE RINGS movies. For FX freaks and geeks, that’s reason enough to see this modest little gorefest, and I’m with those guys: Once you’ve seen a giant lumbering were-sheep, your life will be just a little bit better than it was two hours before. And, on a less frivolous note, there’s also some lovely photography of the New Zealand valleys and coastlines amidst all the sheep carnage.
The very first image of the movie is that of a herd of sheep crowding into frame right. That’s the first time (of many) that I laughed. The protagonist has a crippling fear of sheep; by the time we meet him as an adult he’s cowering in a taxi cab stopped in the middle of a street entirely swarmed by sheep. From there, things get silly. A quick checklist:
An evil sheep drives a runaway truck off a cliff.
A sheep farts.
A sheep bites a guy’s butt.
A guy talks to sheep in a conspiratorial whisper.
A bunch of sheep eat a guy.
In a brief transformation scene, a human being transforms into a giant were-sheep.
A guy throws mint sauce at said giant were-sheep. Important safety tip: Mint sauce is like holy water to vampires. Also: Were-sheep are uncommonly timid around sheepdogs.
There’s a pretty blond girl in the movie, and there’s romance, and those two statements are unfortunately unrelated.
(Think about it. Or don’t.)
Considering how many sane human beings it takes to get a movie made and released, it’s just so weird to me that something like this got through in the first place. I’m happy they pushed this thing all the way up and over that mountain, don’t get me wrong. I’m just pointing out how unusual an achievement this represents. I had a good time with BLACK SHEEP. It’s short and it’s silly. Like me! Will it float your own personal boat? Depends on your threshold for animal humor. Here’s the acid test: If you get a chuckle out of the still frame below, you’re very likely the target audience for BLACK SHEEP.
Jon Abrams is a New York-based writer, cartoonist, and committed cinemaniac whose complete work and credits can be found at his site, Demon’s Resume. You can contact him on Twitter as @JonZilla___.
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Tags: 31 flavors of horror, Animal Humor, Animals, comedy, Danielle Mason, Dogs, gore, Horror, James Ashcroft, Jonathan King, Monsters, Movie Of The Day, Nathan Meister, Nature, New Zealand, Peter Feeney, Richard Taylor, Sheep, Weta Workshop