Black Sheep
Director: Jonathan King
Writers: Jonathan King
Producer: Philippa Campbell
Starring: Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Peter Feeney, Tammy Davis, Glenis Levestam, Tandi Wright, Oliver Driver
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 87 min
read my spoiler disclaimer



reviewed by Andrew James
     Take a bit of Hitchcock's The Birds, mesh it with a bit of Romero's Dawn of the Dead, sprinkle a dash of Raimi's Evil Dead and make it all happen using techniques borrowed from Landis' American Werewolf in London, set the whole thing in Australia and you've got sort of a twigs and berries (i.e. "not as good") conglomeration of all four entitled Black Sheep.

      Eco terrorists botch a plan to expose genetic scientists' experiments with sheep DNA engineering. They inadvertantly launch a virus that make sheep EXTREMELY agressive and turns anything bitten by a sheep, into one. The man in charge of the entire corporation is one half of a pair of siblings; the other of which has just returned to the farm to collect his half of the quarterly earnings. Instantly they begin to bicker, get split up and this when the story sort of takes off.

      The movie is silly and outlandish enough at first that it really had me interested in what this could be. I mean basically it's The Birds but with sheep. What's not to love right? Well, it has some early potential but frankly the idea just gets stale really quickly and is not as humorous as the film makers think it is. Most of the dialogue is eye-rollingly awful (especially by the main heroine) in the film.

      The use of real sheep is really where the film has something going for it. There's very little animatronic creatures or CGI here. Mostly, all is done with tricks of the camera. Close up shots of sheep with those damn creepy eyes they have, putting them as silhouettes in a doorway or making them appear as though they are looking at something really interesting just out of frame make these guys legitimately creepy as antagonists. The only animatronicor CGI (at least I think they were) creatures used were some close-ups of sheep trying to break through walls or doors or what have you. But watching hundreds of "rabid" sheep come rumbling over a hill to give chase to some poor farmer with riveting music playing in the background (ala 28 Weeks Later) is pure joy.

      Unfortunately this is where the fun ends however. As soon as people start to morph into sheep, things just got too corny and cliche'd for me. The sheep people aren't scary or funny; they're just stupid. Still, we're forced to endure more than one cat and mouse, shakey-cam chase through a barn or a house. I realize that the film isn't supposed to be taken too seriously, but it still needs to play more upon its strengths (the real sheep and the one or two uexpected, Shaun of the Dead type mishaps) and less upon its weaknesses (lame dialogue, sheep people) than it does.

      If it's splatter you're looking for, you'll be happy. Sheep rip people apart limb to limb and there are several "blood splatters on the wall" moments. Once you're about 30 minutes into the movie, you won't go more than five mintues without a gross-out scene that is both shocking and humorous at the same time. Nothing really unique (except the fact that it's sheep doing the eating), but if this is your thing, a higher rank this film deserves.

      Basically it just comes down to the fact that I didn't really care about any of the characters, I've seen blood before, it wasn't particularly funny, the dialogue is atrocious and the entire film is mired in cliche. The only thing really going for it were the crazy shots of real sheep shown in interesting ways and attacking people at will. It's thankfully short at 87 minutes and it has its moments, but if I had wanted to spend more time in the theater, I would've gone right to the customer service desk to ask for my money ba-a-a-a-a-ck.



Press "PLAY" to watch the trailer


Links:
IMDb profile - full cast and crew
Official Site
FLIXSTER PROFILE for Black Sheep




 





andrew@moviepatron.com