Suppose you are among those constantly hungry for fresh zombie movies, you certainly cannot miss this 2019 horror black comedy, Yummy.
The tragic fun begins in a remote Eastern European cosmetic surgery hospital, where patients seek low-cost treatments.
Among them are Michael and his girlfriend Alison, who is fed up with being constantly pestered by men about her preponderant breasts and wants to reduce them.
Also accompanying them is Sylvia, her mother, who, on the other hand, is OK with cosmetic surgeries and wants to receive her umpteenth facelift.
While walking through that hospital, Michael feels something is wrong and becomes increasingly anxious before the operation. Hence, a young staff member, Daniel, accompanies him to another ward to relax and keep him away from the doctors working on his girlfriend.
Thus, they walk into a supposedly restricted area, where Michael accidentally unleashes a girl tied to a bed, unaware she is infected with a virus, transforming people into hideous monsters hungry for human flesh.
The medical facility quickly becomes a nightmare, infested with ravenous creatures, as the two boyfriends struggle to find each other, having to run and fight in the hallways to avoid being mauled by the infected.
Being now prisoners, they assemble in the laboratory of Dr. K and his assistant Janja, who reveal the virus is actually the side effect of experimental rejuvenation therapy, now clearly out of control.
While outside, the army assembles, ready to contain the infection by any means; inside, the struggle to endure also divides the survivors, willing to do anything against each other to get out of that doomed place alive.
Nothing new, but zombies always work
With this 2019 movie, director Lars Damoiseaux comes to the interesting crossroads of zombie horror and beauty obsession, a topic very relevant to society and well portrayed by the double meaning of the title Yummy.
This film doesn’t offer a big change in the genre, yet it gives a clever and funny twist, certainly not making anything new but decorating it with a more vibrant and perhaps a bit less inflated tire.
About the billboard in front of the theater, They wanted to look yummy – They do, in a few words, capture the movie’s core, a kind of “less is more” and classy example of advertising that Plato would, maybe, have considered a bit too physical for his liking, but effective.
The chosen location, a cosmetic surgery hospital, makes for a fun visual and thematic contradiction where the obvious cleanliness of the hospital stands against the rot of zombies in humor as fine and pointed as a scalpel.
The main characters don’t try to capture the deep feelings of a Shakespearean figure, and yet, in this setting, their shallowness turns out to be almost a good trait, adding to the story with a sense of ease and accidental humor.
Indeed, although they fit into the typical mold of survivors brought together by dire situations, their foolishness, driven by self-focus and clumsiness, adds to a funny mess that creates more issues than it fixes.
Events move quickly toward a surprising and gripping end, although there is a middle half-hour where it feels more like separate, tragic/comic scenes rather than a unified story in which each part fits into the whole.
But overall, Yummy is a solid guilty pleasure to enjoy, like a too-rich treat eaten in secret because we think that way it adds fewer calories.
An ordinary cast of madness
Okay, as we’ve said before, maybe the main characters in this movie won’t be Oscar nominees for originality, but who cares? They’re perfect for what this film wants to be: a hilarious parody of the zombie genre and the culture of beauty.
Let’s take Alison, right? Maaike Neuville makes her so…ordinary, but with those breasts to make your head spin! It’s like every horror movie fanboy’s dream; her choice to opt for a reduction is the ultimate irony.
And then there is the boyfriend, Michael, played by Bart Hollanders. I’m dying of laughter whenever I see how he reacts to other people’s looks at Alison. He could have been a doctor, but now he is just a mechanic with a girlfriend who wants breast reduction and a potential mother-in-law, Sylvia (whom Annick Christiaens plays hilariously), who cannot stand him.
Looking for a bit of criticism, they could have exploited Sylvia’s character more to make us giggle further about her plastic surgery obsession, but that’s okay.
Moreover, let’s remember Daniel, our nurse/maintenance man. Benjamin Ramon makes him a scene-stealer! At first, he seems like a secondary character. Still, as the film rolls on, he becomes a highlight, almost overshadowing our sweethearts.
Finally, there is this pair of mad scientists, Dr. K and Janja, played by Eric Godon and Clara Cleymans, seemingly just there to throw some pseudoscientific notion out there to justify the infection, but their wacky attitude lends an extra touch to the chaos, using everything from scalpels to defibrillators as weapons against the zombies.