NZIFF 2020 – Yummy REVIEW
NZIFF 2020 – Yummy REVIEW
Director – Lars Damoiseaux
Starring – Maaike Neuville, Bart Hollanders, Benjamin Ramon, Clara Cleymans, Annick Christiaens
Are we tired of zombie movies yet? Yes we are. Does Yummy add some freshness to a moribund stew and reanimate the monster? GARY STEEL on Yummy.
Does the world need even one more zombie movie? The genre barely existed when George Romero made his grisly trilogy (Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead) and his approach was both fresh and disturbing.
Since the first of those films changed everything in 1968, however, the zombie movie has slowly become moribund, with a plethora of sub-genres, some playing on humour and others – like the TV series The Walking Dead – attempting to combine genuine drama with splatter-gore.
And I’ll admit that, however predictable most of the zombie flicks got, I was there to soak up the blood and guts. But in 2020, with the whole world living in a kind of suspended hell with a very real pandemic caused by a virus rather than zombification, the zombies seem like a really tired concept.
Belgian film Yummy is billed as a movie that gives fresh life to the munching dead (ha), so I had to see it just to convince myself otherwise. In the end, I reckon that they’re right (but so am I, sort of). Yes, it’s true that Yummy has a kind of frenetic indie energy and the film has quite a few good deaths that are as funny as they are yucky. But it’s also a film that’s so loaded with the history of the zombie film that rampant clichés are unavoidable.
It’s not exactly a comedy-horror but it comes close, because the story (such as it is) is so ludicrous and the whole scenario so unlikely that you can’t really take it seriously. Really wanna know? Okay, here goes: Couple and the wife’s Mum drive to a cosmetic surgery hospital in the middle of nowhere where it’s immediately apparent that things are loose and weird. She’s about to go under the knife for breast reduction surgery when a junkie orderly discovers that the hospital is experimenting on corpses and reanimating them. Naturally, they’re flesh-eating zombies, which get loose and all havoc breaks loose.
Maaike Neuville is perfect as Alison, a “girl-next-door with D-cup boobs”, but her idiotic nerd boyfriend is pure caricature. It’s not the characters/actors that make Yummy, however, it’s the variety of ingenious horrific/funny scenarios that arise from the zombies getting loose. There are some frustratingly dumb scenes where zombies are chasing people from ward to ward but no one thinks to do something as simple as closing or locking a door, probably because then the camera couldn’t go through.
But in amongst the creative and disgusting tomfoolery, there’s a kinetic energy that makes parts of Yummy worth the ticket price. I wish they’d dropped the zombie theme altogether and instead figured out some other monster concept that was a bit fresher, though.
Ironically, the best scene doesn’t involve monsters at all but a TV star who is at the hospital for penis enlargement surgery. After saving a young woman from a zombie attack, she insists on losing her virginity to the movie star, who unwraps the bandage of his freshly-minted “big one” to carry out the dirty deed. I shouldn’t spoil what happens next but it’s hilarious (and will have any male squirming in his seat in sympathy).
So it’s both good and bad, really. At its best, Yummy is indeed a fresh entry into the zombie genre, but is it a genre worth reviving? I hope that next time this creative team get to create a whole new genre, and some horrific gut-busting laughs along with it.
* Yummy is available to stream online from August 1 to August 7.
Check out Witchdoctor’s New Zealand International Film Festival reviews: