Black Sheep (2007)

Black Sheep (2007)


The tagline reads: "There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand… and they're pissed off!" On a remote sheep farm a genetic experiment goes horribly wrong. The result is a comic-horror in the same bloody vein as Peter Jackson's early work. Essentially a zombie movie with sheep.

Flicks Review

'Black Sheep' is a decent comedy-horror, but unfortunately is also one that fails to scare even once. In the whole running time there was not one split second which had me in suspense, not one single moment which made me jump in my seat. Instead, we get a lot of mildly amusing sheep gags, and a whole lot of bloody effects courtesy of Weta Workshop (which, admittedly, are impressive).

The premise is that a sheep-phobic city-dweller returns to his late father's farm to find his older brother conducting genetic experiments on his ovine stock. What results is a zombie-like tale of killer sheep (it becomes a little bit more interesting than that but I won't spoil it for you).

The acting is a mixed bag. There's a female hippy character called Experience. I think the ironic joke here is that she lacks life-experience, but I'm wondering about acting experience too. Then there's the lead, Matthew Chamberlain, but he's equally bland and uninspiring. Oliver Driver provides the over-the-top comic relief – he's not bad. Then there's Peter Feeney (you'll recognize him from several ads on TV) who is interesting to watch, and suits the role of sneering villainous bad guy perfectly.

Victoria Kelly's musical score is suitably grand and underscores the action well… until you realise that there's hardly a moment without music. It's always there, always sweeping, always pounding. It's as if every onscreen moment should be packed with suspense and emotion. Only it isn't. And the music starts to seem hopelessly redundant as it works so hard to create some kind of excitement which isn't there.

Peter Jackson seems to be a huge influence on this film. It's as if director Jonathan King has never watched anything other than Jackson's back-catalogue. Frantic wide-angle close-ups and ears being stretched/ripped off are the menu du jour.

If you haven't been put off already, please note that the climax of the film is a fart gag.

'Black Sheep' is a great attempt at a comedy-horror, but ends up being just a mildly funny extended joke that just isn't scary. It's not really a parable either, so there are no 'Animal Farm'-type deeper levels to be found here. It's decent but childish.

[Reviewed by Andrew Hedley, a good if churlish man]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 12 ratings, 12 reviews
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This movie was only moments away from greatness or at least mediocrity. But we didn't even get that because three factors - comedic timing, the editing and the music - all consistently missed the mark.

Why do the greenie/hippie/new age characters get all the good jokes?!

I was stuck deciding between 3 and 4 stars!
Sorta funny, nice scenery, sometimes a bit over the top!
Not scary at all, the non-reality of it makes it more funny than scary.
The special effects were great!!! Go Weta Workshop.
Acting was goodish, sometimes i think the actors displayed the wrong emotion.
Would recommend, especially to a member of another country.

i saw the perveiws and they just shoeed the best parts to the movie a left out that it was a repeting flim like other flims they try to make funny but just arnt

One of the few DVDs where I couldn't be bothered seeing it through to the end, or even halfway ... try half-an-hour.
Amateurish in production, direction and acting.
The joke is the local movie 'industry' clamouring for much-needed credibility (and funding) but stinging their patrons with trash like this one.

ok cool iconography we see nz on film excellent sound track great cinematography. Plot clearly based on improvisational theatre workshop.You know oliver driver and his mates are heavily into impro...funny ???? No .Interesting??? yes

Did not stop me eating lamb I dont recomment showing this film on inboard tourist flights the tourists are spooked enuf by our dogs!

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The Press Reviews

70% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Pretty impressive work from a first-time filmmaker who aimed for equal portions of broad humor and gore galore -- and nailed both genres right on the mutton. Full Review

  • Surely it's a sign of national maturity to have us telling sheep jokes against ourselves and selling them to the world. Black Sheep won't be to everyone's bad taste. But it's got plenty of it to keep us chuckling until that next Sunday roast... Full Review

  • Black Sheep is slick schlock that might entertain if you haven't seen a horror film since the 80s. It feels like the overly manufactured product of giving a hack a million dollars, a Cinemascope lens, an army of Weta workshop drones, a producer with a keen sense of generating international box office mojo via New Zealand's currently bankable genre filmmaking, and churning out something that looks vaguely like a cult item worthy of festival market interest. It's certainly no Death Warmed Up or Bad Taste -file it somewhere next to the blandness of The Locals... Full Review

  • 1/2 So full of animal-flatulence jokes that you can almost smell it, Black Sheep has never found a farming joke it didn't find incredibly amusing. Sheep shagging farmers? The plot practically hinges on it... Full Review

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