Peter Jackson might be New Zealand’s patron saint of cinema but he isn’t the only game in town. Nowadays everyone’s talking about Waititi, Clement, and Darby but if you look hard enough you’ll find the islands have more to offer than those hunks (Check out my review of The Ugly, a low budget horror movie from New Zealand I found on VHS in a thrift store). Like today’s movie, Black Sheep!
Who doesn’t like a good werewolf movie? Sheep! That’s who! Where do sheep live? New Zealand! That’s w(h)ere! Is making a werewolf movie in sheep’s clothing the best way for kiwis to subvert the genre and make it their own? Yes, but who keeps asking!?
Gleefully mixing tropes from werewolf and zombie lore, Black Sheep tells the story of two estranged brothers who, while sorting out the legalities of their inheritance, inadvertently introduce mutant carnivorous sheep into New Zealand’s farmlands. A single bite from one of these genetically modified lambs can turn a man into a freakish weresheep with the strength of ten men (the exchange rate of the strength of ten American Men is equivalent to sixteen New Zealand men, FYI)! The brothers and their compatriots must face sheer terror in the face of this flock of death to restore order to their farm and save their country from a flesh eating rampage! (I’m sincerely surprised ‘sheer terror’ and ‘rampage’ were passed over for ‘Get the flock out of here!’)
Black Sheep exceeded my sheep-themed horror movie expectations, which isn’t saying much. This is a midrange horror comedy. Funnier than Ghostbusters (2016) but not as funny as Shaun of the Dead. Better special effects than Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil but not better than Monster Squad. Black Sheep is comfortably in the Wolf Cop and Tusk range, a solidly above average example of its genre. If you think for a second that my analysis is in any way intended to disparage Black Sheep think again. Imagine for a second how good a low budget sheep-themed horror movie has to be for me to suggest it falls short but still in the same ballpark as Shaun of the Dead and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, two of the best horror comedies in the last 20 years. There are countless unwatchable horror movies out there, if I were ewe I wouldn’t let Black Sheep be one of them.