Sunday, 3 April 2011

AFED #92: Black Sheep (New Zealand, 2006); Dir. Jonathan King

Just a short review here...

I guess if any country was going to produce a horror comedy about genetically engineered vampire sheep then it was going to be New Zealand. What's more surprising is that it's actually not at all bad.


Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister) returns to his family's farm fifteen years after the tragedy that left his father and Henry with a pathological fear of sheep. In the intervening period his ruthless older brother Angus (Peter Feeney) has expanded the estate and, with the assistance of some scientists in his employ, has been conducting some dodgy experiments with his livestock. Henry is all set to sell his share of the farm to Angus and return to his comfortable city life, but when animal rights activists release a mutant vampire lamb they set in motion a train of events that will make Henry's darkest nightmares terrifyingly real.

The results are some predictably gory, gruesome and anarchic fun. Given the budget presumably didn't exceed a few million the special effects are surprisingly good, with a fabulous were-sheep transformation sequence that consciously evokes Rick Baker's groundbreaking prosthetics for American Werewolf in London.

If anything the humour was a little too broad for my tastes. The anarchic tone sets the bar quite low, there are some lame one-liners and not quite the same genre-savvy wit of something like Shaun of the Dead. But while it won't linger long in the memory it delivers exactly what you'd expect. Nice scenery too.

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