Friday, October 12, 2007

Black Sheep (2006)

Get the flock out of here!

I wanted to love it. I liked it well enough, but unfortunately, I was calling a cab for it at about 3 in the morning. Definitely not an all nighter. Perhaps I just wasn't drunk enough?

When I learned the creature effects were being done by Weta, this became a must see. In the beginning, we are introduced to two brothers, Angus and Henry. They live on a farm in New Zealand with their father, herding sheep. Angus, being the elder brother, is a bit of a prick. He likes to chop up sheep with an axe and wear their body parts so that he can frighten his younger brother. Henry, understandably, grows up with an intense fear of this particular livestock. After their father has a cliff diving accident, the youngest brother moves away to the city, leaving his slightly psychotic brother to run the farm. Fifteen years later, Henry returns, at the behest of his therapist, only to learn that Angus has been dabbling in genetic engineering. No, he didn't create Dolly, but I think what he did create is probably the next best thing.

Of course, we all know hippies suck, right? Are you with me? Well, all it takes in a movie of this ilk, is for two such fucking activists to infiltrate the farm, steal a cannister from some lab techs, trip as they're fleeing into the woods, and have a little genetically altered sheep fetus bite the guy in the ear, thereby setting in motion what I'd like to call a fucking shitstorm of sheep shit. Angus, has been spending his years, with the aid of a few mad scientists, trying to develop the perfect sheep. Of course, Could anythiing be more perfect than human DNA? Regarding the sheep fetus; I loved it. It was a perfectly fine updated version of the Sumatra rat monkey from Dead Alive. So, are you still with me? Basically, this fetus bites the unfortunate activist, Grant, who eventually changes into a humanoid sheep monster, but not before he can bite Angus. Grant's attractive hippy partner, named Experience (Oh, brother!) escapes and aligns herself with Henry and the farm manager Tucker. Tucker is eventually attacked and bit by a sheep, so he's pretty much fucked, and on and on and on.

There are two fantastic scenes in this picture. One scene involves Angus holding a meeting with investors from around the globe. As they all take their seats, we see thousands of sheep stampeding over the hill and towards the congregating food (investors). What follows is a buffet of gore, with intestines pulled, limbs sheared, throats ripped. These are some fucking intense sheep. And yet, I loved them. They were still so fucking adorable. There are scenes where they are clearly supposed to be ominous & yet I can't help but yearn to hug them. Even when they are savagely biting at our heroes feet I kept saying "ahhhhh..." as if it was time to snuggle. Is that wrong? Should they have been more dangerous OR was that the point? The other great scene is when Henry must go through a flock of sheep in cognito. So, of course, he dons some fur and starts crawling out upon his knees. It doesn't take long before an adonis sheep takes a liking to him and mounts him from behind (Top Secret homage, I'm sure). It's here where we, the viewer, are subjected to a view of the largest sheep mountain oysters we have ever seen.

Oh, I also liked when Angus opened his speech to the doomed investors by saying "This land was carved from Virgin bush..." Yeah, I like that line.

Anywhoo, there's alot more to this film. Angus redefines animal husbandry at one point. I loved how the sheep dog finally got put to good use at the end. I disliked the genetic engineering angle. I guess the filmmakers here would probably get as pissed as Danny Boyle got when you refered to the infected as zombies. They're not zombies! They're genetically altered sheep men! I'm just not a big fan of the geneticist conspiracy angle here. Why not keep it simple? God, haven't these guys ever heard of a meteorite? I'm sick of hearing about the fallacy of man. Aliens can be evil too! That's a solid lesson. There's a transformation scene that certainly earns it's place below An American Werewolf in London. My review is one large mixed message, isn't it? Well....I recommend it. I mean, it's no Day of the Animals, but it's still pretty fun. I just wish those fucking sheep weren't so damned cute.

No word yet on whether those mountain oysters are included in the R Rated version. I'll keep you posted.


Beepy said...

Always I have a plot question (as if the plot is even important in these movies). Are the sheep themselves evil or is it only the people who've been bit and transformed into sheep? If it is the sheep themselves, is it because they are born so, or were they infected from the evil fetus?

I guess their teeth must have been part of what was genetically altered or they'd have to grind us to death.

Were all the female sheep cheering the ram on for finally getting even?

This movie produces more questions than it answers.

brian said...

One sheep is bitten by the evil fetus and then things just steamroll from there. The sheep are infected, not necessarily zombies. There are also were-sheep which is kinda different and the one aspect of the film I wasn't in love with.

I guess to answer all of your questions, you'll just have to watch it.