I can say with certainty that there will never be a better horror movie about sheep.
Things go haywire when a specimen from a genetic modification experiment gets accidentally released among a flock of sheep at a factory farm. This isn't the first Fluffy Animal Gone Bloodthirsty movie I've ever seen. It's not even the first I've seen for a Horrorthon. That distinction goes to Night of the Lepus which is about a blitzkrieg of giant bunny rabbits. I linked Octopunk's review which is better than mine, but he said another great thing in the comments section of my review. JPX opined, "I think Monty Python forever ruined any potential for killer rabbits to be scary to me." Octo replied, "Gee, that's too bad. There's such a rich, untapped well of terror to be had there."
There are obvious constraints to picking a cute animal as your villain -- you pretty much eliminate any possibility of making something seriously scary, and that's a void that has to be filled. Night of the Lepus fills it almost in spite of itself: It contains no intentional humor to speak of. But it manages to be fun to watch because it takes itself seriously despite its kooky subject matter, and because none of the actors mail in a performance. Also, there are giant, mutant bunny rabbits.
The hilarity in Black Sheep is entirely intentional though. I assumed while I was watching it that whoever wrote it (turns out, it's director Jonathan King) would have an extensive list of comedic writing credits, but I was wrong -- Black Sheep is his first project. It's an impressive first turn. The script is strong and the dialogue is peppered with clever exchanges. One of my favorites occurs when three of the characters are chased into a bedroom while a furious sheep rams at the door from the outside.
Experience: What is wrong with you?
Henry: [Panicking] Ovinophobia, my therapist calls it.
Experience: Well, what's that?
Henry: Just the completely unfounded and irrational fear that one day this is going to happen.
The gore is more than Horrorthon-worthy. As with the basic look of the sheep, there's only minimal CGI touching-up. The effects are mostly mechanical, so there's nothing blatantly digital and unrealistic to be distracted by. Plus, sheep have flat teeth, so when they gnaw into something, the bites are coarse and painful looking. It feels like a real threat.
Sheep make a great subject for a cute-attack movie -- they're big enough and have a high enough top speed that a mass of them stampeding your way is cause enough for alarm. And in addition to the teeth, there are hooves, so there's a definite physical threat even before the sheep go sour.
Additionally, King made the wise choice not to physically alter the infected sheep. They don't grow fangs, they don't change bone structure. There's a bit of CGI spicing to make them look a little extra pissed, but it's mostly pure, unadulterated sheep you're looking at.
And sheep just have awesome comedic potential. They're trotting balls of fluffy hair that grows thick enough to maintain its stiff shape no matter how fast the sheep is moving around -- which means they all look like galloping barrels. They're also blessed with glib, detached facial expressions, only enhanced by the casual twisting of the jaws when they're chewing something.
And let's not forget, the animal we're talking about sounds like this:
Like Shaun of the Dead, Black Sheep plays almost as if it were a horror movie because the characters don't intentionally behave like they're in a comedy. They react with sincerity to their bizarre circumstances, so the movie manages to be both horrific and funny without looking like it's trying too hard to be either.
Highly recommended -- my favorite movie so far this Horrorthon season.