Directed by Lars Damoiseaux
Written by Lars Damoiseaux, Eveline Hagenbeek
Starring Maaike Neuville, Bart Hollanders, Benjamin Ramon, Clara Cleymans, Annick Christiaens, Eric Godon, Joshua Rubin, Taeke Nicolaï, Tom Audenaert, Noureddine Farihi, Dimitri ‘Vegas’ Thivaios, Louise Bergez, Stijn Van Opstal, Isabelle van Hecke, Hannelore Vens
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YUMMY is a gross and gory horror comedy that would be a fantastic aperitif to watch after SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Every zombie horror has the line, “the best horror comedy since SHAUN OF THE DEAD,” but this one actually deserves the accolades. Sure YUMMY’s highlight is the insane amount of grue and blood it sheds during its runtime, but it also manages to be very funny throughout while managing to keep the zombies a threat and the stakes high. It’s an all-around sopping good time!
Allison (Maaike Neuville) has big, big boobs. So big that she wants to get them reduced. Her nebbish boyfriend Mike (Bart Hollanders) fully supports her decision and says he will love her the same with or without her big, big boobs. Though they don’t have a lot of cash, Allison and Michael are headed to a dodgy clinic with her mother Sylvia (Annick Christiaens) to get a reduction while Sylvia gets her umpteenth tummy tuck. When they arrive, both Allison and Michael are a little leery at the lax atmosphere of the clinic as doctors are drinking coffee in the operating room and patients are shipped in and out of the OR in record time. But just as Allison’s big, big boobs are about to go under the knife, wouldn’t you know it, a zombie outbreak happens.
What makes YUMMY good is the balance between dire circumstance and all around goofy, gory fun. At no time in the film does it feel like the danger isn’t real for this group trying to survive the labyrinthine hallways of this medical clinic with all sorts of nightmare zombies who have been infected mid-plastic surgery and the doctors working on them. So there are all of these medical monstrosities walking around with breast implants, chin lifts, penis implants, and the like in pursuit of our heroic team. This makes for some fun and gruesome sight gags, but a claustrophobic nightmare as there seems to be no exit and no end to the cavernous tunnels, hallways, and portals the group must conquer in order to escape.
The cast is all fun and up to the task of carrying both the drama and the comedy. Maaike Neuville is especially good as she has to wear these fake big, big boobs for the whole time and maneuver around all kinds of physically demanding terrain. Bart Hollanders supplies some of the best comedy here as Mike the nebbish boyfriend who is being out-manned by the much more aggro orderly Daniel (Benjamin Ramon) who has his eyes on Allison, or more accurately, her big, big assets and belittles Mike for his aversion to blood and violence. A twisted love triangle begins once the zombie’s strike as Allison’s affections are for Mike, but Daniel is definitely proving himself to be the one to rely on in this crisis. Not only is this an interesting moral conundrum for Allison to struggle with, but is also is creatively and smartly pushed to the limits toward the end. Another great performance of note is the subtle, but strong demeanor of Nurse Janja (Clara Cleymans) who is sort of the fly on the wall in terms of understanding most of the character’s motivations and calling them on their shit decisions.
YUMMY is not above goofy sight gags, boob jokes, and grossout humor. It wears its immaturity like a badge of honor. But it also never forgets the threat is real and situation dire. The film really makes great use of the medical clinic surroundings which reminded me of THE RE-ANIMATOR at times and seems to embrace some great Italian zombie films, most notably THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE (aka LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE). The opening scene is a winner and will draw you in immediately, and the thrills and laughs keep coming all the way through to the equally thrilling ending. While it isn’t anywhere near the perfection of SHAUN OF THE DEAD or RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD in terms of the horror/humor balance, YUMMY is filled with big scares, bigger laughs, and of course, big, big boobs.