Read Tex Massacre’s review here
Peter Jackson fans rejoice because there’s a new hero in town, and his name is Jonathan King! This past week at the AFM in CA I had the pleasure of seeing BLACK SHEEP, his King’s comedy horror film from New Zealand and was shocked by how much fun it was. SHEEP is the perfect compliment to Billy O’Brien’s ISOLATION as it’s the complete opposite film. The film is fun, energetic, hilarious and extremely entertaining… the only things they have in common are the zombie animals and loads of gore.
In the film an experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a rural town in New Zealand.
While watching the film I was taken back to a time when Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE and BAD TASTE used to grace my TV screen hundreds of times a year. Much like a Jackson movie SHEEP never takes itself seriously and is completely self-aware. The jokes come like a one-two punch from Mike Tyson and are wonderfully integrated into the story. There are tons of “wink wink” moments, which will have horror fans high-fiving each other in the middle of the theater.
One thing that I thought was quite odd was that a lot of the movie seemed to play as a homage to JURASSIC PARK. One character’s name is “Grant”, the monsters stem from a tube of genetically mutated sheep that are explained exactly like the dinosaurs in JP- there’s even a scene were hundreds of sheep come hurdling over the hillside just like the cues in JP.
I love the character development in the screenplay, as each character is 100% identifiable to the full extent. The bad brother is extremely evil, the good brother is extremely heroic and so on. The story kick starts right away and never pulls back; King makes sure to deliver on all of the goods that were written and ends the film on such a ridiculous note that it’s just an exclamation point before the credits roll.
But it’s not all about laughs; there is so much blood in the movie that the gore hounds are going to piss themselves. We get heads being blown off by shotguns, sheep being blown apart, people eaten alive, mutated sheep being tested on, a penis being bitten off and a pit of discarded sheep guts- seriously, what more could you want?! And what make the FX work so well was that they were nearly all practical effects done by the great WETA (King Kong, Lord of the Rings). They used puppets and robots, and splash so much fake blood on the screen it’s f-cking unbelievable.
One last thing that really ensured that we would have a fun-filled ridiculous out-of-control blood-soaked ride (nice sentence huh?) was that they even had the humans get bit by the sheep and transform into Weresheep (only there’s no going back). There are no rules set in the film and there’s nothing to take seriously. The goal is to have you sit back, relax and have one hell of a good time. Mission accomplished. The theaters screamed, cheered, claps, laughed and gasped at all the right moments- Jonathan King just might become our new Peter Jackson, and I’m all for it. Get infected by the BLACK SHEEP sometime in 2007.