June 27, 2020 Yummy (Movie Review)
What do you get when you combine a cosmetic surgery clinic with zombies? Why, you get the little Horror-Comedy thrill ride known as Yummy, which began streaming on Shudder on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
In this bloody tale, Alison (Maaike Neuville: De Dag series, The Twelve series) and her mother, Sylvia (Annick Christiaens: Please Love Me Forever short 2016, Heirs of the Night series), are headed to a hospital in Eastern Europe for what can only be described as bargain price plastic surgery. Along for the trip is Alison’s doting boyfriend Michael (Bart Hollanders: Salamander series, Callboys series), a hemophobic who goes by the tender nickname Pookie Bear.
After greetings from the lovely Janja (Clara Cleymans: De Ridder series, Tegen de sterren op series) and quick consultations with Dr. K (Eric Godon: In Bruges 2008, Anna 2019), the ladies are prepped for their operations—a breast reduction for the daughter, and the whole works for mom. Nervous over the loss of his favorite twins, the boyfriend begins to wander the hospital hallways with the charismatic Daniel (Benjamin Ramon: Cannibal 2010, Être 2014), who has seemingly appeared out of nowhere. But when Pookie accidentally stumbles onto a nude woman chained to a bed, he unwittingly sets a series of disastrous events into motion. And it only gets worse when a patient randomly announces that he just saw a man eating another man!
An Official Selection of SXSW 2020, Yummy clocks in at 88 minutes. The witty film marks the feature-length debut for talented Writer-Director Lars Damoiseaux (Striker Bob short 1997, Chopper short 2012), with a screenplay written by Damoiseaux along with Eveline Hagenbeek (Rokjesdag 2016, Undercover series). A film that fluidly blends English and Dutch, with subtitles as needed, Yummy comes to us by way of Raven Banner Entertainment. Additionally, it features the acting talents of Joshua Rubin (Back Widow series, Sobibor 2018), Tom Audenaert (Come As You Are 2011, The Break series), Taeke Nicolaï (Vermist series, Tussen Nu en Morgen short 2018), Louise Bergez (De Overkant short 2015, Skam Belgium series), and more.
Billed as an “orgy of blood, violence, and fun,” Yummy is definitely this. Initially, at face value, comparisons might be drawn to Cronenberg’s 1977 classic Rabid—which was recently paid a wonderful homage by the Soska Sisters—but the two films differ greatly. The Shudder Original combines paraplegic zombies and topless women with a flaming penis and comes out swinging (an axe) in the name of ridiculous comedy. If you think zombies are terrifying, sure, Yummy might rate on your fright scale, but for the rest of us it’s sheer over-the-top dark humor.
However, there are a few setbacks to the film; although, most of us sitting down to watch a zombie flick are not looking for an avant-garde spectacle. But it is worth noting that the sound mixing lacks cohesion throughout, so you will need your ever-trusty remote handy to increase/decrease the volume as needed. More importantly, Yummy blends practical effects with the use of CGI, which leaves several scenes with blood splatter that is entirely inauthentic. Oddly, the zombies are, by and large, made via practical effects, though the splatter tends to be done with CGI. In one particularly disappointing moment, Ramon’s Daniel bashes a zombie’s head in with a fire extinguisher and walks away crisp and clean. (How?)
These issues aside, Yummy is horribly amusing in the most grotesque sense of the term. There’s a reverse liposuction that ends poorly for everyone involved, a flying axe head, a bizarre amphibious creature come to life, and much, much more. The action is nearly non-stop as the cast fight their way through the old hospital and attempt to survive. Certainly the goal here is not character development, though several of the leads—Neuville, Hollanders, and Ramon—are given enough background to deliver not entirely flat roles. They, and the entire ensemble cast, provide enough hijinks and laughs to make the film’s runtime move quickly.
Blend all of the above with appropriately bleak and moody cinematography from Daan Nieuwenhuijs (Pak van mijn hart 2014, Bodkin Ras 2016) and a phenomenally compiled score from Nico Renson (Striker Bob short 1997, Patient Zero short 2016), and you have a feel-good gore-fest that is guaranteed to make you spill your guts—snickering, that is.
So, it’s a hot and steamy summer weekend and you can’t leave the safety of your air conditioned home. Would you like to discover some creative new uses for a paper shredder or how to lose your penis in three easy steps? If you enjoy a good laugh and tons of gore, well, climb onto that sofa and buckle in for Yummy, which Cryptic Rock rates 3.5 of 5 stars. (If you’re famished for new zombie content, add an additional half star.)