Growing up on the family sheep farm was idyllic for smart, sensitive Harry Olfield, except for some knavish mischief from cocky brother Angus, until their dad has a fatal accident. Fifteen years later, Harry has finished sheep-phobia therapy and his ICT schooling and returns. Angus buys him out, all ready to present the genetically engineered Oldfield sheep he bred with a ruthless team. When environmentalist Grant steals a discarded embryo, which has sharp teeth, he gets bitten by it, and thus the first to be infected with predatory hunger and a mechanism that turns any mammal into a werewolf version. Running for the farm men, Grant's mate, student Experience, gets teamed up with Harry and his boorish but gentle pastoral youth friend Tucker. They must survive both the bloodthirsty sheep and their creators, who didn't realize this yet but dispose of an antidote. Written by
Black Sheep, a black comedy from Jonathan King, was anything but sheepish when it came to blood and gore. Reminiscent of early Peter Jackson films, the graphic detail is bound to make you squirm, and at times chuckle. Incidentally, the film borrowed one of Jackson's Oscar winning tools, Weta Workshops. Needless to say the effects are bound to impress.
With a number of international movies shot in New Zealand with plots that could easily take place anywhere, Black Sheep offers a refreshingly unique New Zealand twist to the well-used zombie theme. The characters and issues related so well that even the Aussies couldn't claim it as their own- well, except maybe the sheep shagging jokes.
It certainly doesn't take long to adjust to hearing Kiwi accents on the big screen and start relishing in the subtle humour, grotesque effects and brilliant performances by some underrated New Zealand talent.
King's first feature film has taken the zombie flick back to grass roots level. Not baaad.
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