Yummy Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Premiered on Shudder
Written and directed by Lars Damoiseaux
2019, 96 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on Shudder on June 25th, 2020
Maaike Neuville as Alison
Bart Hollanders as Michael
Benjamin Ramon as Daniel
Clara Cleymans as Janja
Annick Christiaens as Sylvia
Eric Godon as Dr. K
I find the idea of a plastic surgery center to be inherently creepy in the first place. As a setting, it’s ripe for horror – a place where there’s a sharp knife for every dream. People will go to insane lengths to like what they see in the mirror, so what better place to open a can of zombie whoop-ass than a medical center where everyone wants to be their best self at any cost?
Yummy introduces us to a lovely young woman who’s gifted/cursed (depending on your perspective) with some serious boobs. Alison (Maaike Neuville; The Day) has come to Dr. K’s (Eric Godon; Anna) for a breast reduction, accompanied by her nip-tuck obsessed mother, Sylvia (Annick Chrsitiaens; Once Upon a Time) and her awkward boyfriend, Michael (Bart Hollanders; Callboys). It’s a relationship with unusual dynamics, and that is before Michael accidentally unleashes Patient Zero and a particularly voracious strain of the zombie virus on the world. No mask can help them now, even if it’s one of the really nice ones with the filters.
Yummy presents an interesting pedigree of influences. The body horror is at least hinted at, if not actually laid out. There’s a series of events that leads to a near-fatal fall and major head trauma that feels so much like Peter Jackson’s Derek character in Bad Taste that I fully expected him to pop back up when the time came and say, “I’m a Derek…and Dereks don’t run!” Perhaps the most interesting layer is the half hour of virtually non-violent character development between the ensemble. The cadence of the conversation and the banter in the dialogue is like a Dutch Kevin Smith doing zombie horror after a couple of days spent watching too much David Cronenberg. The result is a pace that’s swift and an overall vibe that’s pretty light (perhaps a bit too light at a couple of moments).
Before you say that’s too much praise to heap on Lars Damoiseaux’s debut feature in comparing him to Peter Jackson and Kevin Smith, know that there are real flaws in Yummy as well. The hyper-aggressive, speedy, all teeth and claws style of the zombies occasionally begs for some slower specimens or maybe a crowd to set a hopeless tone. The CGI violence is necessary for some of the kills, but it’s not as effectively done as you’d like to see.
All this makes for a jarring combination with the absolutely first-rate practical SFX makeup. Yummy is as gleefully blood-soaked and chewy as any predecessor you could name and even comes with some non-undead creature surprises. The nature of the SFX gags and the creativity in the kills all speak of a creative team that knows what a damn solid zombie film should look and feel like.
Yummy is damn solid, too. As crowded as the realm of the zombie film always is, there’s a unique lingo and tone that allows it to feel different than many of those other films shambling around in the herd. It’s able to wear all its warts with a proud smile mainly because everybody involved clearly made the most of what they had to work with in the most overdone subgenre in all of horror.
Taken in that context, Yummy is quite the accomplishment.
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