Black Sheep – New Zealand, 2006

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Black Sheep is a 2006 New Zealand comedy horror feature film written and directed by Jonathan King. The film’s “splatstick”-style was inspired by New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s movies such as Bad Taste and Braindead. Special effects for the movie were handled by Weta Workshop.

Plot:

A young Henry Oldfield (Nick Fenton) lives on a sheep farm in New Zealand, with his father and older brother, Angus. After witnessing his father’s pride in Henry’s natural ability at farming, Angus plays a cruel prank on him involving the bloody corpse of his pet sheep, just moments before Mrs. Mac, the farm’s housekeeper, comes to tell the boys that their father has been killed in an accident. The combined shock of these two incidents leads Henry to develop a crippling phobia of sheep.

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Fifteen years later, Henry (Nathan Meister) returns home to sell his share of the family farm to Angus (Peter Feeney). Unknown to Henry, Angus is carrying out secret genetic experiments that transform sheep from docile vegetarians into ferocious carnivores whose bite can transform a human into a bloodthirsty half-sheep monstrosity…

Reviews:

“Writer-director Jonathan King takes swipes at irresponsible scientists but also at daft hippie saboteurs: his message is the obvious one of letting nature get on with it. There are bawdy gags about the usual suspects, including the notorious intimacy between Kiwis and sheep, but the farce maintains a rollicking pace and the performances are more accomplished and likeable than a film of this sort generally musters.” Anthony Quinn, The Independent

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“This movie is bloody and gory along the lines of Slither, but it’s done with deliberate humor, spectacular effects and surprisingly, a beautifully written musical score by Victoria Kelly […] It’s an amazing effort and a credit to them all that they pull it off and make something that is so graphic at times seem hysterically funny.” Sybil Vasche, Screen Rant

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“Of course, no film – least of all one about mutant killer sheep – is obliged to “say something”; so rather than criticise this production for its profound disinterest in anything that doesn’t involve grossing out its audience, it would be more to the point to commend it for the energy it puts into achieving that one great goal.” Liz Kingsley, Cinefantastique

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“There are some good jokes, and impressively disgusting special effects, but it’s hampered by wooden acting, abrupt switches of tone, and long stretches of humourless exposition. Shaun of the Dead has set the bar pretty high for this sort of thing; Black Sheep just isn’t nearly as funny or suspenseful.” Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

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“Writer/director Jonathan King turns in a highly skilled debut, with amazingly clear editing and a gorgeous use of widescreen, rural spaces. He has an eye for old-fashioned horror, using latex effects instead of CGI, but also turns up the gore for modern audiences. He also has a terrific deadpan comic touch, and the film had me giggling more than once.” Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

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