Insecurity is relentless — even viral. A single internalized thought can metastasize into a plague that overcomes your entire being. It can even be airborne: a pathogen that originates in the sinister, spewed words of another, eventually laying claim in your own heart. Everyone acts as both predator and prey to the power of insecurity and the grotesque ramifications for which it is to blame. Taking this into account is Lars Damoiseaux’s horror-comedy, Yummy: a violent hailstorm of boobs, blood, and butchery.
Yummy tracks the story of Alison (Make Neuville), a woman who is constantly objectified because of her F-cup chest. Hoping to relieve the stress on her mind (and her back), Alison and her boyfriend, Michael (Bart Hollanders), go to a highly regarded, yet suspiciously cheap plastic surgery office so she can get a breast reduction. Waiting on the completion of Alison’s procedure, Michael wanders around the hospital, eventually encountering a young woman strapped to a table with a mask on her face. Thinking she’s in need of help, he frees her, only to find a rotted maw beneath the mask — and so sets forth a hospital-wide zombie outbreak of which they all must escape.
Yummy‘s writing proposes a number of compelling themes — the intersection of vanity and consumption, money over morality, and the pressures of adhering to gendered expectations — but it throws them away even quicker than they’re introduced. The utilization of a plastic surgery office — itself an inherent hub of corporal reconfiguration — as the site for a zombie outbreak that wreaks havoc on the human form offers promising events to come. Cleverly, a dilemma occurs in which the characters are unable discern if an individual is infected or in treatment. However, ultimately, Yummy doesn’t deliver.
The film wastes no time in getting to the action, (something that can be effective when done well, think Scream), but it sacrifices sense for savagery. The characters routinely fall into dense decision-making, and the quickness with which the action begins means that we consequently don’t spend much time with them — we don’t get to know them in any meaningful way. Therefore, their fear means absolutely nothing; so when paired with the obtuse choices they make, we’re more annoyed by them than we are hopeful for their survival. The narrative arc also falls flat, with the haphazard sequence of events feeling like they’ve been picked out of a hat. The film’s slapstick comedy works when it’s organic to the plot points — when it feel naturally occurring rather than cheap. However, Yummy shamelessly devolves into an extended bout of dick humor and habitual idiocy from the characters that is intended to play for laughs, but winds up being utterly disappointing.
Constantly volleying between excited, kinetic energy and low, steady moments of chill, Yummy‘s pacing is all over the place, often taking too much downtime in its interruptions of action. However, in its thundering moments, the resonant, syncopated score is irresistible. The intensity of the neon coloring often renders the film’s elements into the uncanny, which works perfectly in the scope of its zombie focus. The violence itself is awesome: Yummy makes great use of its environment to produce memorably creative kills. Likewise, the design of the undead is equally potent — the gooey, oozing practical effects are especially notable, perhaps the film’s greatest strength. There’s moments of obvious CG effects, which distractingly detract from the impact, but we’re quickly swept back into the grotesque grip of the predominately practical execution of the film’s gore.
Lars Damoiseaux’s Yummy is chockfull of blood and bedlam. Deliciously creative in its visual elements, it brings shocking vitality to a tale riddled with death. Its gut-churning gore is disgusting and repulsive in the most magnificent of ways, wonderfully introducing new, inventive kills to an already saturated sub-genre of horror. However, while its resonant score and neon lighting is a surge of energy amidst all the death and decay, Yummy‘s witless characters and erratically senseless narrative aren’t enough to uphold it.