For those of you who felt “Night of the Lepus” didn’t go far enough, or who wished the other farm animals in “Babe” had torn that annoying pig apart, there’s “Black Sheep,” the latest entry in the horror subgenre of films featuring formerly harmless animals gone berserk (see also “Frogs” and “The Birds”).
In “Black Sheep,” young Henry (Nathan Meister) is returning to his family’s sheep ranch where he was raised but eventually left following the untimely death of his father and az cruel prank played by his brother than left him with a lifelong phobia of fluffy white animals. Now, his brother Oliver (Matthew Chamberlain) is running things and plans to buy out Henry’s share.
Of course, he’s also dabbling in genetic experiments to produce a new strain of sheep. One of these is naturally inadvertently released – “28 Days Later” style – by one of those wacky environmentalists. Now Henry has to team up with another protestor (Tammy Davis) to thwart the ravenous sheep and put a stop to Oliver’s diabolical scheme.
Going in, I had high hopes that writer/director Jonathan King was going to channel pre-“Lord of the Rings” Peter Jackson and shower us with gore and entrails. Unfortunately, “Black Sheep” takes so long to get going and misses so many easy opportunities for classic comedy it has to be regarded as a noble failure. The WETA-created sheep effects are top notch, and when things finally kick into high gear, the results are gratifying, but it’s too little, too late.