“You hear that? Sounds like somebody’s shearing.”
Justin’s Rating: In like a lion, out like a lamb
Justin’s Review: Sheep are dumb. Like, really really really dumb. You know how people are amazed at the intelligence of dolphins and chimpanzees and even the cooperative hive mind of ants? Yeah, well, there’s just not a lot of books written about the brainpower of our little baa-ram-ewes. They wander off easily, get scared at just about everything (including, this is true, drinking from water that is moving fast enough to splash their noses), and move as a big herd because they don’t know any better. Aside from cutesified Precious Moments figurines, sheep are pretty silly-looking as well. Only a complete moron would find anything to fear in these animals.
Enter a complete moron in 2006’s Black Sheep: Henry. Henry is a New Zealand shepherd who develops intense sheepophobia after his brother pulls a prank on him as a kid, which causes him to flee the sheeping scene and never look back. That is, until there is a sizable check in it for him to return home for one last confrontation of his four-legged woolie-woolie nightmare.
It’s an ironic shame, then, that the particular weekend of his return happens to be during a zombie sheep apocalypse (book your hotel rooms early, space is limited!). Due to Henry’s ethically-vacant brother Angus’ scientific meddling and the helpful clumsiness of two hippies, mutant sheep get loose, starts biting other sheep left and right, and before you know it – countryside full of zombie sheep looking for human flesh. What makes it even worse is that an infected sheep bite doesn’t just zombify a human, it turns them into a gigantic lamb themselves.
It’s safe to say that Henry’s therapy bill after this trip will be considerably higher than before it.
Black Sheep is a surprisingly well-made horror comedy in the vein of Peter Jackson’s old stuff. It’s got that New Zealand touch (g’day mates), plenty of gross-out visuals, some very impressive make-up, charming quips (especially from Experience, the candle-toting hippie), and hilarious shots of sheep doing full-body jumping tackles of grown human beings. I found myself laughing more than once, and genuinely liking the main characters in the limited time that they had to do their thing.
Sure, it’s an uphill battle to convince the audience that sheep can be terrifying in their own right, and while Black Sheep never actually succeeds in doing that, it does a smashing job in entertaining us from start to end. Shear fun. I’m not gathering wool when I tell you this. If you’re looking for a baaaaad film, search elsewhere. Ewe won’t believe your eyes. When rogue sheep are on the lamb, you’d want these guys on your side. Don’t be fleeced by anyone who warns you away. It ain’t mutton – this is the feel-good flick of the summer!