Monday, May 07, 2007

How sheep will no longer help you sleep.

For the past few years, New York City has been hosting the Tribecca Film Festival. I guess it originated in lower Manhattan (the edgy artist Wicker-park-ish area of Tribecca) to enhance tourism and revitalize a scarred city after the 9/11 tragedy. Now I am trying to do and see everything in and around the city that I can during my short tenure. I really have tried to hit every major parade, festival, or tourist attraction (even when the locals tell me it is crap….ie the St. Pat’s parade) just so I can see with my own eyes that it really is crap. Naturally I wanted to see a film in the festival just to cross another item off the list. Some co-workers and I started looking thru the long list of films. We debated about what type of movie to see (romantic comedy, drama, documentary, etc). I was hesitant about some of the movies because indie comedies or dramas can be a hit or a miss (many of them I have seen are not funny or just down right boring). Finally we decided on the one type of movie that is never a disappointment…..a horror movie! Think about it, you go in expecting to be frightened and/or grossed out…..well there may be a plot to save the world from vampires or to warn idiot college kids about premarital sex, but those are not what people buy tickets for. Even it if is a badly done horror movie (think Freddie vs Jason) you will find it utterly hilarious. Okay my point is made. One of the co-workers was from New Zealand, so that inspired us to select the movie “Black Sheep”. The style is horror/comedy (think Shaun of the Dead). In a summary, the plot is:
Extreme environmentalists accidentally release (free) some genetically engineered sheep into the wild. These zombie sheep have a taste for humans and therefore start attacking all the people. Now it is based in New Zealand, and it is a fact that sheep outnumber people in that country (the New Zealand co-worker shook her head and as said “yes it is sad but true, we have a lot of sheep”. Well a small group of people battle the sheep before they devour the entire population. Oh and in addition to zombie sheep, the mauling victims of the sheep turn into strange zombie hybrid human/sheep (trust me I cannot fully explain how they looked, but I laughed my ass off). Just like the cute little white rabbit in Mighty Python’s Holy Grail, the “evil monsters” could not look less imposing. Come on…they are white fluffy sheep! It was awesome! You would see a frightened human shaking there in front of five sheep (yeah real sheep and just had that blank dumb animal look on their faces). All of a sudden a giant ball of white wool would blindside the guy in one glorious side tackle. Don’t get me wrong, it had plenty of gore with the sheep pulling out intestines from screaming victims or open bleeding throats. It had all of the classic horror moments (like the sheep coming back to life to bite you after you just shot it in the head at close range) plus genius comedy. Okay don’t read this if you want to avoid the spoiler of a great scene. A group of people jump into a truck while trying to escape from a heard of sheep. Everyone but the driver pile into the bed of the truck. When the driver starts up the car, he looks over and a killer sheep is in the passenger seat. He manages to drive at a high speed while defending himself from the sheep. Okay imagine a guy punching a sheep in the head and then grabbing the sheep’s head and banging it against the steering wheel (complete with horn sound effects). Finally he escapes from the sheep by crawling out the side window into the bed of the still moving truck. The other people ask “oh are you okay….wait who is driving”. Now cut to the sheep driving! Ah ha ha ha. I (and most of the audience) almost fell out of their chair laughing so hard. There were also moments where you can tell the film makers wanted to savor it. For example when they gloriously destroyed the truck, they kept filming it because you know they were thinking “wow I’ve always wanted to do that….this stunt alone cost us 75% of our production budget….now we cannot afford robotic sheep”. To make it even better, the movie was shown only at Midnight (or close to) each night. Oh and I am shameless enough to dig out my old college ID to get the student discount (hey these film festival prices were $18 a ticket, can you blame me!). Okay enough free publicity. I give it two mauled thumbs up.


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