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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 112: Black Sheep

Black Sheep
Oh sheep!

Happy Creature Feature Saturday everyone. It feels like I haven't done one of these in a while. Saturdays tend to be slow days for blog traffic, so I usually watch the particularly terrible horror movies, which happen to be animal-based movies. Blame SyFy and lazy writers everywhere. It seems that every animal has been used for a horror movie; sharks, crocodiles, bees, bears, spiders, hell even slugs and worms. So I might as well watch one starring sheep. That's right, sheep. Now I don't know about you, but sheep don't exactly strike fear into my heart. In fact, here in the United States, during the elections of 2010, a Republican named Carly Fiorina was running for Senate in California and released a downright insane political ad called “Demon Sheep.” For my international readers (and I do have a lot, apparently. You should say hi in the comment section), most of our political ads are not this crazy and thankfully, she did not win.)

Black Sheep is a horror/comedy movie from New Zealand starring Nathan Meister as Henry Oldfield. As a young sheep farm boy, Henry was traumatized by a cruel prank played on him by his brother, Angus (Peter Feeney). Angus killed Henry's pet sheep and wore it's bloody carcass to scare his brother. Directly after the prank, the boys learn from their housekeeper, Mrs. Mack, that their father had been killed in an accident. 15 years later, Henry returns to the family farm to sell his share to Angus. Henry is now terrified of sheep, to the point where he has to call his therapist when surrounded by them. Angus has been genetically modifying sheep in hopes of making a more profitable creature. Environmentalists Grant and Experience steal a mutant lamb preserved in a container, but accidentally drop it when they are pursued. The mutant bites Grant, infecting him with the mutant sheep strain. Meanwhile, Henry goes for a drive with his old friend Tucker. They are confronted by a sheep that refuses to move from the road. When they get out, Experience steals their gun and holds them hostage. Unfortunately, she is no good with guns and Tucker takes it from her. They see a farm house filling with smoke, go to investigate and are attacked by a vicious sheep. Tucker shoots it multiple times before it dies. Angus is stopped and bitten by Grant, who is slowly turning in to a sheep monster. Henry, Experience, and Tucker fight their way through the sheep, but Tucker is bitten and begins to change as well. They go to Grant's lab, where they see the horrors he has created. One of the scientists there sees Tucker's now sheep-like hoof and injects him with the cure. With investors coming to the farm to witness Angus's new creation, will Henry and Experience be able to stop the killer sheep from mutating more people and get off the farm alive?

 "Not baaaaaad. Needs salt."

As crazy as it sounds, this was actually a very entertaining movie. Black Sheep could have easily been some cheap, CGI, Saturday afternoon on basic cable garbage fest, but surprisingly it had a fun story, good acting, nice special effects and makeup, and tradition horror. Black Sheep can best be described as a zombie movie with sheep. There is a horde of infected creatures looking to eat humans and if you are bitten, you become one of them. Pretty simple stuff and its amazing when you think of how many zombie movies out there suck when a movie about mutant sheep can be good. The direction is very good, with not shots particularly wasted or unnecessary. Above all else, the movie is just entertaining, something that is becoming increasingly rare in horror.

There is plenty of comedy throughout the movie, and for the most part, its actually funny. They did a good job with the writing and the actors are able to pull off their parts convincingly. There are a few cringe-worthy moments when it came to the comedy, but it's still better than some of the stuff you'd see on Comedy Central. There is a good amount of action and loads of blood and gore. Seriously, there are more entrails, severed limbs, and bloody wounds in this movie than some of the Saw movies. The locations used for the movie are absolutely beautiful and really help set the rural tone of the movie. Despite being a movie from another country, there were only a few times where local sayings were used, and it never took away from the story.

Half man, half sheep, all terrifying

Black Sheep takes a silly idea of killer mutant sheep and makes it into a great horror and comedy movie. The horror is solid and the comedy is good enough to make me crack a few smiles. The acting is very good, which helps the overall movie not look like a joke. The effects and makeup add a sense of realism to a movie that really shouldn't have had any. It helps that the movie had a serious budget. If you're looking for a fun horror movie that is a little left of center, Black Sheep is a good choice.


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