Black Sheep (2006)

It's 1986 and Henry Oldfield is helping his dad tend the flocks. Henry seems to be a natural at it, and it is quite obvious his dad is proud. Older brother Angus, however, has some issues. To scare Henry and to get back at him, he slaughter's Henry's favorite sheep, hangs its carcass in the barn and dons its skin, coming at Henry out of the darkness. Bad time to do this, because housekeeper Mrs. Mac (Glenis Levestam) appears right at that point announcing there has been an accident - their dad has driven off a seaside cliff while going after a wayward sheep.

20 years later Henry (Nathan Meister) returns to the farm after years of therapy regarding his extreme sheep phobia. Angus (Peter Feeney) has stayed behind and run the farm, expanding into genetic experiments to create the perfect sheep. Now that he's succeeded, he plans on selling the farm to an international conglomerate. Henry shows up to sell his portion and leave. While getting ready to go, he meets up with his old friend Tucker (Tammy Davis), who now manages the farm. Henry agrees to let Tucker show him around for old time's sake.

Unfortunately, things aren't the same, and his stay will be a bit longer. Hippies Experience (Danielle Mason) and Grant (Oliver Driver) arrive to expose Angus's experiments for what they are. Grant goes a bit further than planned, stealing a tainted biological specimen that was marked for disposal. Soon, he's bit and, before the specimen expires, it manages to infect the farm's flock as well. This results in not only a flock of super-intelligent, carniverous sheep, but anyone bitten begins to turn into a sheep as well - a fact that Grant, Tucker and Angus all find out.

I think it is obvious to anyone that a movie about killer sheep is not to be taken too seriously. And, since it is from New Zealand, one automatically thinks of Peter Jackson. You wouldn't be too far off the mark. Frequent Jackson collaborator Philippa Campbell produced this, and WETA did the effects. In some ways, it does have the feeling that it is a kinder, gentler, woolier Dead Alive. Happily, Jonathan King has his own skill at directing and manages between bits of humor to sometimes make the sheep look menacing. There is also some insight into why Kiwi farmers probably wear button flies (hint: Angus's love for sheep doesn't have much to do with farming).

So, yes, it is a silly movie, but also quite enjoyable and with a fair amount of gore. I do think some other critics have been a bit harsh on it just because they were wanting everyone involved to do more, but it is what it is: a movie about killer sheep. At least it's not giant bunnies.

Black Sheep (2006)
Duration: 87 minutes
Starring: Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Peter Feeney
Director: Jonathan King

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