Black Sheep

  • 2007-08-22
  • By Tim Osher

WHEN SHEEP GO BA-A-AD: Genetically mutated,flesh-eating sheep are the subject of this off-beat comedy.

Director: Jonathan King

"Black Sheep" is a wry,dry and enjoyably sillymovie about geneticallyengineered sheep runningamok on an idyllic NewZealand farm. It's part "28Days Later" and part"Shaun of the Dead" andwhile it's nowhere near asgood as either film, it's stillvery good fun.Henry Oldfield (NathanMeister) left the farm hegrew up on after traumaticallylosing his belovedfather in an accident andbeing cruelly bullied by hisolder brother Angus (PeterFeeney). Henry now lives inthe city and is a thoroughlyneurotic young man with aserious phobia towardsheep.The story begins withhim returning home so thathis brother can buy out hisshare of the farm.

Angus isnow a successful farmer whohas secretly developed a genticallyengineered sheepwith a team of unscrupulousscientists. A couple of environmentalactivists sneakinto the farm and steal a disgustinglooking miniaturesheep in a glass jar whichwas a failed experiment onits way to the dump. But themonstrous little sheep accidentallygets loose and startsattacking sheep and humansalike. The sheep it bitesimmediately turn into savagekillers and the humanstransform into giant twoleggedsheep thanks to someimpressive old-school specialeffects."Black Sheep" isn't particularlyfunny and nor is itparticularly scary but thefilm's premise is so wonderfullysilly that it doesn'tmuch matter. There areenough wryly comicalmoments and witty snippetsof dialogue to make "BlackSheep" a little better thanaverage. Peter Feeney, in particular,really stands out asthe supercilious Angus. Hisdeadpan performance isprobably the best thing aboutthe film, especially towardthe end when he indulges ina little ovine love.Director Jonathan Kingclearly loves horror filmsand "Black Sheep" is loadedwith references to the genre,the most obvious beingwhen someone talks about"the violence of the lambs."He also realizes that there issomething irresistablyenjoyable about transformingthe most docile andharmless creature on theface of the earth into abloodthirsty killer.

It reallyis quite amusing to see aflock of baying sheep rippingpeople to pieces andthere are even some sceneswhen they genuinely lookquite sinister.The ending is also a gratifyinglysubversive reaffirmationof the farming cultureon which New Zealandwas founded. After watchingthis you'll feel a lot lessguilty about chomping on anice mutton chop.

Now showing in Latvia.

Please enter your username and password.