Black Sheep (Unrated)

Picture this: Genetically mutated monster sheep run amok on a remote New Zealand farm. The concept alone is enough to get B horror fans excited. But can a story about killer sheep really provide enough entertainment for a feature film without running out of gas? Writer/director Jonathan King, with special effects help from Peter Jackson’s WETA workshop, proves that it can in.

When two animal rights activist’s attempt to steal away with some lab specimens, they do more harm than good, releasing a dangerous experimental sheep fetus-monster whose bite is infectious in a style reminiscent of the Sumatran rat-monkey bite in Peter Jackson’s gory classic Dead Alive. Infected sheep turn into rabid human-hunting carnivores; imagine a 28 Days Later where it’s the sheep that are infected with rage. Meanwhile, humans that get bitten slowly morph into gigantic powerful were-sheep creatures. In both cases, the special effects are incredible. Very little CGI is used, making for more realistic monsters and more intense deaths, both of which fans of the genre will cheer for.

The underlying story about a young man with a crippling sheep phobia, the result of a traumatizing impish prank from his childhood, is decidedly light, but still makes for decent cinematic fare. Obviously, he has to overcome his improbable fear over the course of the film, while buckets of blood and guts are poured on everyone in sight. As the DVD case clearly states, this film is “not for the weak of stomach.” Though the gore gets pretty intense, Black Sheep is still a good-natured comedy romp at its core and the jokes and sight gags keep the film from settling into generic B horror complacence.

“Can a schlocky horror comedy about weird sheep be perfect? Why not?” asks a WETA workshop prop maker in the information-rich “making of” featurette included on the DVD. It’s a good question and not a simple one to answer; though this comedy/horror hybrid has its flaws, fans of low-concept B horror movies will be hard-pressed to find a more expertly executed example of the nature-gone-wild creepfest.

Zach’s Review: B
Fan’s of the Chris Farley/David Spade Black Sheep‘s rating: C-
Shawn of the Dead fan’s rating: A-

To purchase Black Sheep, visit Amazon
For more information and to view the trailer, visit the film’s homepage

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