'Black Sheep' is a decent comedy-horror, but unfortunately is also one that fails to scare even once. In the whole running time there was not one split second which had me in suspense, not one single moment which made me jump in my seat. Instead, we get a lot of mildly amusing sheep gags, and a whole lot of bloody effects courtesy of Weta Workshop (which, admittedly, are impressive).
The premise is that a sheep-phobic city-dweller returns to his late father's farm to find his older brother conducting genetic experiments on his ovine stock. What results is a zombie-like tale of killer sheep (it becomes a little bit more interesting than that but I won't spoil it for you).
The acting is a mixed bag. There's a female hippy character called Experience. I think the ironic joke here is that she lacks life-experience, but I'm wondering about acting experience too. Then there's the lead, Matthew Chamberlain, but he's equally bland and uninspiring. Oliver Driver provides the over-the-top comic relief – he's not bad. Then there's Peter Feeney (you'll recognize him from several ads on TV) who is interesting to watch, and suits the role of sneering villainous bad guy perfectly.
Victoria Kelly's musical score is suitably grand and underscores the action well… until you realise that there's hardly a moment without music. It's always there, always sweeping, always pounding. It's as if every onscreen moment should be packed with suspense and emotion. Only it isn't. And the music starts to seem hopelessly redundant as it works so hard to create some kind of excitement which isn't there.
Peter Jackson seems to be a huge influence on this film. It's as if director Jonathan King has never watched anything other than Jackson's back-catalogue. Frantic wide-angle close-ups and ears being stretched/ripped off are the menu du jour.
If you haven't been put off already, please note that the climax of the film is a fart gag.
'Black Sheep' is a great attempt at a comedy-horror, but ends up being just a mildly funny extended joke that just isn't scary. It's not really a parable either, so there are no 'Animal Farm'-type deeper levels to be found here. It's decent but childish.
[Reviewed by Andrew Hedley, a good if churlish man]