VOD film review: Black Sheep
James R | On 01, Jan 2014
Director: Jonathan King
Cast: Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason
Watch Black Sheep online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
The New Zealand tourist board probably aren’t a happy bunch. With the world still flocking to the country to see the pretty landscapes from The Lord of the Rings, Black Sheep reveals that it’s swarming with zombie sheep. Hardly an invitation to visit your estranged Kiwi cousin, is it? Come to New Zealand, see The Shire and get munched on by Mother Nature.
Nonetheless, Black Sheep is incredibly entertaining. When the concept of a film can be summed up in two words, brainless fun can be expected. But when those two words are “zombie” and “sheep”, you know you’re in for a good time.
It all starts with a sentimental flashback to Henry Oldfield’s youth. The son of a farmer, he (Meister) and his older brother Angus live wholesome lives, herding animals out of barns and stacking up hay in picturesque fields. Angus even dresses up in the skin of a dead sheep to scare his younger sibling. Awww. Jump 15 years forward and Henry has a complex. What a surprise. Even more ominously, he’s visiting Angus at precisely the same time environmental activists are sneaking in through the back fence. Within minutes, a suspicious canister breaks open, freeing a deformed ovine foetus, which feasts upon the hippies.
The infection spreads with increasing laughs. Did you know a sheep can drive a car? Well, thank goodness WETA were on hand to provide such effects – the old-school practical department, not the CGI wizards from Middle-earth. Despite the glorious, old-school violence of the lambs, though, the film works best when you see nothing; there’s something inherently funny about a white object appearing from nowhere and knocking someone off-screen with a loud “baa”.
Sadly, the human characters are not as captivating. From Henry, the paranoid black sheep of the family (see what they did there?) to Experience (Mason), the animal-friendly one, it’s hard to care about the monsters’ human prey. Compare it to the excellent Brit flick Dog Soldiers and the lack of cast chemistry is clear – forget improper relationships with sheep, you wouldn’t mind if these characters slept with the fishes. Still, those two words hold on to their appeal: Zombie. Sheep. Such an inherently silly concept saves this B-movie from its shallow characters.
Black Sheep is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.