It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 20132014201520162017201820192020, 2021 and 2022.

Here there be spoilers!

Yummy is the first full-length feature film by Dutch Screenwriter/Director Lars Damoiseaux, and is also the first Belgian zombie film. Damoiseaux has been making short films as far back as 1996, so it’s not like he doesn’t know his way around a film set. The script is co-written by Eveline Hagenbeek and takes place in a shady plastic surgery hospital in Eastern Europe. It’s another horror/comedy, and as I said in my review of Zombie for Sale, comedy is difficult. Especially horror/comedy.

As Yummy started, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The opening attempts at comedy didn’t really land with me, and I wasn’t sure what tone Damoiseaux was going for. The characters and the situation were interesting enough, though – Alison (Maaike Neuville) wants to have breast reduction surgery because she is constantly being harassed by men wherever she goes, her boyfriend Michael (Bart Hollanders), who dropped out of med school because he can’t stand the sight of blood, is fully supportive of her decision, and mom Sylvia (Annick Christiaens) doesn’t understand it, being obsessed with looks and having a number of procedures done at the same time Alison is going under the knife.

The hospital staff are suitably untrustworthy, with Dr. K (Eric Godon) performing all sorts of unsavory surgeries, his chief of staff Janja (Clara Cleymans) is coldly clinical, and orderly (?) Daniel (Benjamin Ramon) is a skeezy, pill-stealing bad boy who takes advantage of the newly-endowed patients seeking validation after their cosmetic surgeries. We also have two other patients highlighted, Oksana (Taeke Nicolai) who gets pretty much no backstory, and William (Tom Audenaert), a celebrity who’s there for a check-up after super-secret penis enlargement surgery.

The hospital is brimming with underage girls who are there because the doctors perform free abortions on the condition of being able to use the fetuses for their top-secret experimental stem cell plastic surgery treatments. What no one knows outside of Dr. K and Janja is that there’s a zombie Patient Zero (Louise Bergez) locked up in the basement, writhing and snarling and just waiting to be set free by some hapless loser.

I’m looking at you Michael.

Thankfully, Yummy isn’t bad once it gets going, but it doesn’t really telegraph when the action is going to kick off. However, once Michael and Daniel accidentally set Patient Zero free, all hell breaks loose, quickly and violently. And while we don’t really see the start of things, it only takes minutes before people are being attacked, blood is spraying, and flesh-eating zombies are feasting.

And this is where Damoiseaux starts to really have fun, leaning into the gore and splatter – especially during a “romantic” scene between Oksana and William, who’s eager to try out his new enlarged penis. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well and I’m a little embarrassed by how much I laughed. There’s a moment in another scene involving dead fetuses and animals in jars that worried me, but the payoff is far less disgusting than anticipated. It’s actually a weird highlight, to be honest, and another laugh out loud moment. Alongside these are a number of truly disturbing and disgusting bits that really help make the film stand out.

The climax of the film, however, was much bleaker than it needed to be. Particularly the final shot. The tonal shift from the splatter comedy to the grimdark ending made me a little less likely to want to go back to this one again in the future. I’m not against a tragic ending, but after leaning into the comedy for most of the runtime, it was a bit of a buzzkill. Yummy is definitely worth a watch, but the high points are the gory comedic bits.

Oh, and if the IMDB trivia is to be believed, don’t check your ears, the language spoken by some of the hospital workers is “Balkanese,” an invented language created for the film by Damoiseaux’s wife, Lana Macanovic.

Oh, and after a quick look around the internet, I found out why the film was called Yummy. The film was apparently going to be called Patient Zero, with a tagline of, “They wanted to look yummy. They do.” The change makes sense, since another Patient Zero film starring Matt Smith, Stanley Tucci, and Natalie Dormer hit in 2018 and was about a global pandemic that turned the infected into violent killers – but definitely not zombies.

Satisfyingly, Yummy has better reviews despite Patient Zero having been a 2013 Blacklist screenplay that launched a bidding war between different studios.

Let’s hear it for low-budget zombie cinema!

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