An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.
A delirious mix of broad comedy and wall-to-wall splatter, the New Zealand feature Black Sheep
makes a convincing case for sheep as the new modern horror icon. These sheep aren't the garden variety grass eaters, however; they're genetically altered sheep who develop a ravenous hunger for human flesh after an experimental fetus is accidentally unleashed on a sprawling ranch by a hapless environmentalist (Kiwi actor and broadcaster Oliver Driver). And to make matters worse, those bitten by the monster sheep transform into monstrous "were-sheep" (spectacularly absurd creations by the Weta Workshop). The resulting clash between man and sheep is soaked in gore, of course, but the violence is taken to such outlandish extremes that only the easily nauseated or terminally grumpy will find it offensive. Writer/director Jonathan King's debut feature juggles the gore and the gags (many of which gleefully tread the lowbrow path) with skill thanks to an energetic cast, especially Nathan Meister as the sheep-phobic hero and Danielle Mason as an animal rights crusader who discovers her inner carnivore. The unrated DVD includes commentary by King and Meister, a 30-minute making-of featurette which includes an interview with Richard Taylor of Weta on the film's elaborate creatures, a smattering of deleted scenes, blooper reel, and a half-minute visual joke titled "Early Morning" that was shot especially for the DVD release. -- Paul Gaita