I will start this review by saying that in this film a man sets his recently surgically enlarged penis on fire. So, if you are looking for tasteful horror to watch with the ‘rents during lock-down, look elsewhere. Within the first five minutes of Yummy (literally, on the dot) there is gore, vomit, boob gags and teenage boys making sexual gestures on the back of a school bus. Yummy has no interest in keeping it classy or providing embedded commentary on the state of society through its horror; after all, with a poster tagline boasts ‘face-lifts, boob jobs and… zombies’, what do you really expect?
This could be viewed as a criticism depending on who is reading it, but Yummy benefits from its outlandish stupidity. A horror comedy in every sense of the word, Yummy sets its scene in the walls of Klinika Krawczyk, a supposedly high-end plastic surgery clinic that looks more like the back of a brutalist school building. Alison (Maaike Neuville) travels there to get a breast reduction with her boyfriend Michael (Bart Hollanders) and her mother Sylvia (Annick Christiaens), who is also getting surgery, in tow. Paranoid Michael —who once trained to be a doctor but had to quit due to a fear of blood— has been researching endlessly on Alison’s behalf and is a little less than thrilled with the clinics haphazard practice. Sylvia however is thrilled at the surgeon’s desires to nip, tuck and pull every last inch of her that’s available.
After seeing nurses prepping for surgery drinking coffee within the operating theatre, Michael quickly loses his cool and is escorted off by shady assistant Daniel (Benjamin Ramon), who explicitly tells Michael that he enjoys the job because of the perks of having newly-confident women readily available to sleep with. Daniel takes Michael on a tour of the clinic, where he tells him about experimental stem-cell treatments the clinic is trialling using the cells of aborted fetuses. Of course, it is not long before they stumble upon one of the experiments from these trials: a restrained naked woman whose lips have been ripped off leaving nothing but exposed teeth. Whether she is undead or ravenous is quite unclear, but her taste for human flesh is all the same.
Director Lars Damoiseaux ploughs through his plot with breakneck speed and quite soon the entire clinic has descended into chaos as Michael seeks to find Alison before the surgery goes ahead and everyone else tries to escape the gnashing jaws of zombie patients. The film moves from scene to scene, gag to gag with a slew of stellar practical effects that really take the film beyond its silly plastic surgery premise. There is a particularly gory scene involving reserve liposuction and of course the earlier mentioned penis fire that will have you howling. Constantly with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek, the comedy could easily outweigh the graphic imagery for anyone with a weaker stomach and I’d imagine seeing this with a midnight movie crowd in a packed (post-COVID obviously) cinema crowd would elevate the film even further, it’s really a horror that demands participation.
While there is a case against creating more zombie films these days, due to an onslaught in the height of The Walking Dead’s success, Yummy does manage to provide some relief due to its practical effects and deadpan script. There isn’t a deep backstory to their zombies’ creation to get tangled up in and the film does successfully manage to avoid irritating tropes we’ve come to expect from the sub-genre. It’s a punchy, to-the-point splatter fest that does exactly what it set out to do: face-lifts, boobs and zombies.
Yummy is available to stream on Shudder now
by Chloe Leeson
Chloë (she/her) is the founder of SQ. She is a costume designer and trainee teacher living in the North East of England. She thrives watching 90s Harmony Korine Letterman interviews and bad horror movies. Her favourite films are Into The Wild, Lords of Dogtown, Stand by Me and Pan’s Labyrinth. Find her on Twitter @sqchloe and on Letterboxd here.
Categories: Anything and Everything