Belgian zombie movie Yummy knows what it is — a gore-spattered romp light on originality but heavy on action — and delivers its splatter-filled contents with a cleverness and some dark humor that lifts it above the pack of also-rans in the living dead genre of cinema. Though the film never quite goes all in on trying to induce belly laughs, it has a wicked edge to it and is ultimately a fun thrill ride.
Alison (Maaike Neuville) is a young woman who wants to get breast reduction surgery because her current F-cup size leads to copious unwanted attention. Her mother Sylvia (Annick Christiaens) accompanies her to also get some work done, and Alison’s boyfriend Michael (Bart Hollanders) — a former medical student who dropped out because he is afraid of blood — volunteers to drive them to an Eastern European plastic surgery clinic. As the ladies are being prepped for their surgeries, Michael makes a horrifying discovery, which quickly leads to a full-on zombie infestation inside the hospital.
The cast is solid throughout, with Neuville and Hollanders standing out. Neuville invests Alison with intelligence, strength, and a smidgen of vulnerability, enough of the latter to have her welcome hugs from a Lothario pretending he is a hero who has it all together but enough of the former two qualities to make her a strong battler. Hollanders is both hilarious and sympathetic as Michael, who through a series of slapstick accidents and unwise decisions, seems to be losing respect from the woman he had planned to propose to during the medical trip. The supporting cast members all give fine turns, as well.
Director/cowriter Lars Damoiseaux’s feature film debut follows many of the zombie genre tropes, but the clever screenplay from Damoiseaux and Eveline Hagenbeek affords the director the opportunity to play with well-written dialogue and fresh gore gags. He has an obvious passion for and knowledge of zombie fare, and his expertise shows. The practical effects and makeup crew members deserve a great deal of praise for their work, because the zombies, kills, and various aftermaths all look terrific.
Yummy is available on Shudder from June 25.