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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 is the sort of film that will appeal to fans of Pete Jackson's and Sam Raimi's early horror comedies - especially Braindead and Bad Taste (Jackson) and the Evil Dead series (Raimi). Like these low budget 'schlockers' Jonathan King's film is well made and does not take itself seriously. Unlike these films, however, Black Sheep is not very self-consciously low budget. Since the film consistently parodies low-brow, low-budget horror films, the film-makers were able to very nicely exploit the gimmickry of these films without losing any artistry or credibility along the way.
Black Sheep is the story of two brothers from a New Zealand sheep farming family. Henry Oldfield (Meister) is terrified of sheep and has alienated himself from his family estate in order to seek therapy. Angus (Feeney) is a sociopath, sadist and rising provincial politician who loves sheep. Angus, of course, wants to make better sheep. And predictably, has genetic scientists set up in a barn on the estate who are performing grisly and disturbing experiments which somehow result in rabid, homicidal zombie sheep and were-sheep. A couple of macrobiotic eco-warriors are thrown into the mix (a brilliant touch) to round out the cast.
Of course, the plot is the weakest element in this film. But this is completely consistent with the film's mission as a genre and self-parody. The strongest elements are the excellent (though still hilarious) effects and art design by WEDA, directing and editing, the fine cast, fun characters and good script. King directs the film economically (a rarity in this genre) and the final cut wastes not a frame. The film is also very nicely shot - each scene - especially the sheep stampedes - is engaging and nicely paced. Every horror genre cliché is presented at one time or another, and most are exploited mercilessly.
Great film for fans of the genre. Not recommended for others.
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