Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mini-Review “Black Sheep” (2006)

When I was in Middle School the guys in my class had this stupid game called “Ugly Pictures.” The idea was to try to draw a picture of the ugliest character you could imagine. Or, that was the way I understood the game. In fact, you were supposed to draw the ugliest picture of a character. My pictures were gruesome, truly some of the ugliest people you could ever imagine, but I always lost. My pictures of ugliness were too pretty.

With the genre “Splatstick” people are sort of playing that game. The idea is to come up with a somewhat obvious amateur horror comedy, heavy on the gore. Peter Jackson’s early work is a good example. “Dead Alive,” or “Braindead” as it is also known, has been called the bloodiest movie ever made. It is also a silly bit of squirm inducing comedy.

“Black Sheep” is a recent example in this type of film that tries to have some modicum of good old, horror film morality. It is a classic man-should-not-tread-where-only-God-should-go story. Scientists have been genetically altering sheep and have produced a monster strain that is basically a sheep form of zombie. They attack and kill, and whatever doesn’t die becomes a blood thirsty monster as well.

It is gross and silly and deceptively amateurish. The effects were actually produced by the company that did the Lord of the Rings films, so hardly clueless. The message is confused at times, but not really the point. This is an endeavor more akin to those pictures my classmates drew back in the day.  The humor is OK, but one really is in danger of falling asleep more than laughing or certainly being scared.

Then, in the climax of the film the majority of the monster sheep are dispatched by lighting one of their methane emissions.  The moment is truly laugh out loud funny. It almost makes the whole 82 minutes of attempts to offend worthwhile. Almost.

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