CineMathematics or CinemaThematics. Your choice

Thursday, May 17, 2007

IFFBoston: Black Sheep

There is a very simple test to find out if you will like Black Sheep. If the phrase "mutant zombie weresheep" brings a smile to your face, then you will like Black Sheep. If not, then you can just skip ahead. You won't need this post.

Black Sheep bears an uncanny resemblance to Shaun of the Dead. Both attempt to use horror cliches in seemingly normal circumstances in an attempt to undermine the very cliches they use. And, of course, both eventually succumb to a more straightforward use of the cliches. Unfortunately, Black Sheep lacks the sort of connection we get to Shaun and Ed. By the end of the film, we don't care for Henry and Tucker except as people fighting off mutant zombie weresheep.

Nevertheless, the film is very effective in its original use of the cliches. A simple shot of two sheep in the road becomes absolutely hilarious because of its context in horror history. The first half of the film is very effective, and a great amount of credit for that must go to the Weta Workshops, who ratchet up the gore without turning it into Hostel. And somehow they make very believable mutant zombie weresheep (I'm sure that phrase will get old by the time the film actually comes out), effectively putting a werewolf in sheep's clothing (rimshot please). The gore is, I suspect, a gratuitous cliche for all the wrong reasons, though it does get a reaction from the audience.

There is no better way to watch this film than in a packed midnight showing. Without a bunch of strangers surrounding me echoing my emotions, I would have seen Black Sheep as a much worse film. Some movies just need the crowds, like Rocky Horror or Snakes on a Plane. This is one of them. If you're thinking of seeing it, make sure that you get to it with a group of people. Otherwise, it's just not as good.

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