Sunday, December 6, 2015

In short: Black Sheep (2006)

Sheep farmer’s son Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister) has not chosen the best day to return to the family farm to sell his share of it to his asshole brother Angus (Peter Feeney) in an attempt to find closure and perhaps lose his phobia of sheep (based on a cruel prank his prick brother played on him the day their father died).

For today isn’t just the day when Angus is planning to present his new genetically modified super sheep to interested parties but it is also the day when bumbling eco-activists Experience (Danielle Mason) and Grant (Oliver Driver) will accidentally cause the beginning of the sheepocalypse. That’s the sort of thing just bound to happen when one hires a mad scientist (Tandi Wright) to perform illegal genetic experiments on sheep, of course.

Well, at least the ensuing rise of the zombie sheep and zombie sheep people just might help Henry get over his sheep problems.

I don’t know what it is with New Zealand and gory (though in this case not on the early Jackson level of gore) horror comedies, but I’m glad these things always turn out so well. In the case of Jonathan King’s Black Sheep the film’s even funny enough I don’t exactly need to call it something like “the best zombie sheep movie ever made”, though it most certainly is that.

Apart from the film being funny (it’s a comedy thing), it also recommends itself through some adorable sheep people zombies courtesy (as the rest of the effects) of WETA Workshops that would also look good in a future were-sheep film, sheep fart jokes, not very mean-spirited jokes about chakras and other “alternative” nonsense up to the use of acupuncture when you fight sheep people zombies, some nastily-funny gore effects and a script that realizes that sheep jokes will only get you half-way through a film, yet family trouble and trauma treated through the lens of sheep zombie-ism aren’t just comedy gold but also a fine way to have a film that feels serious enough in certain ways not to end up as only a series of sheep jokes.

King is rather good at the sort of half-comedic (these are still and always zombie sheep, after all) suspense and zombie sheep defence scenes George Romero never includes in his films (because he doesn’t know about sheep, I suppose), so that Black Sheep stays as riveting as it is funny throughout.

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