Gort vs the weresheep: We review New Zealand-made horror-comedy Black Sheep

Commander's log, Stardate 19062013.2

The sheep. Oh dearest Giant Purple Space Platypus, the sheep.

What had begun as an all-night drinking session with Commander Manning had ended, as such festivities often do, with a horde of zombie sheep running amok through the Mothership. At first, the whole jaunt had been rather amusing, but after the sheep had found Gort's lab and upgraded themselves with disintegrator-proof armour, we'd been forced to run for our lives.

As I record this, what may be my last log entry, Commander Manning prepares to assault the sheep with karaoke renditions of his greatest hits. Gort, refusing to be outdone, intends to fall on top of the sheep repeatedly until they are dead. Only time will tell what weaknesses, if any, undead sheep have...

Some films have a premise that is so insanely brilliant that the film itself cannot possibly live up to it. Take Iron Sky, The Expendables or Strippers vs Werewolves, for example. New Zealand B-movie Black Sheep, on the other hand, is about weresheep and is every bit as brilliant as that idea.

Henry grew up herding sheep on his dad's farm before a sadistic prank by his jealous brother, Angus left him traumatised and pathologically afraid of sheep. Fifteen years later, Angus has inherited the farm and turned it into a genetic-engineering research facility. He plans to sell it to Japanese investors, so Henry reluctantly returns to let Angus buy him out. As he arrives, Henry's worst fears are realised when Angus' DNA faffery unleashes a horde of zombie sheep whose bite turns humans into weresheep.

Black Sheep is about weresheep and every bit as brilliant as that idea

As if the plot wasn't crazy enough, Black Sheep is also packed with downright-silly gags: mint sauce has the same effect on the sheep that holy water has on vampires, while one of the murderous mutton chops is dispatched by aromatherapy candle. Thankfully, the cast and crew have no intention of taking any of this seriously and, if you roll with it, you will find some wonderful dialogue in there. Years later, we're still chuckling over "they'll never catch us, they're meat eaters".

Following up a scene of a sheep bursting through a wall snapping blood-dripping jaws with an escape to a field of cud-chewing ovines patiently watching our heroes creep past them, will leave you never looking at sheep in the same way. Likewise, the creature design of the weresheep is knowingly silly, but wonderfully executed. A sensible cover of shadow and darkness papers over any cracks in the effects budget perfectly. Seriously, the weresheep look better than anything you saw in the Wolfman remake.

The New Zealand influence gives the whole thing a Braindead vibe and, like Jackson's film, Black Sheep succeeds where so many horror comedies have failed by managing to be both very funny and also pretty creepy. What reads like a beer-and-pizza flick, turns out to be an exercise in how to make silly premises into great films and Hollywood really should be paying attention.