Yummy (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

Now Streaming Exclusively on Shudder

Lars Damoiseaux’s “Yummy” reminded me a lot of the sub-plot in Robert Altman’s “The Player” where the two aspiring executives have an idea for the opening of a drama. Tim Robbins’ character snickers behind their backs that they have a movie with no second act. “Yummy” is a movie with a great concept, but no real execution behind it. It’s a gory darkly comic zombie movie set in a plastic surgeon’s office… and then… not much else happens beyond that.

Alison (Maaike Neuville) is a gorgeous young woman self-conscious about her large breasts, and goes to a shady plastic surgery hospital in Eastern Europe with her husband Michael (Bart Hollanders) and plastic surgery obsessed mother. While there, Michael discovers that the hospital is experimenting with patients and stem cells resulting and accidentally unleashes a wave of zombies across the hospital. As they struggle to escape, Alison is dead set on saving her mother while also evading hordes of flesh eating monsters.

“Yummy” is a movie with absolutely zero substance. Even as a movie that begins on the pretense that it’s satirizing plastic surgery and our vanity, it fails spectacularly in that corner too. The script has the perfect set up to convey commentary about vanity and obsession over our appearance, but instead uses so much of the setting to poke fun at the characters left and right. The setting of the plastic surgery hospital also doesn’t seem to offer any purpose beyond staging some gross out gags, including an exploding liposuction patient, and an amputated zombie eating her own lard. Beyond that, “Yummy” is presented with a surprisingly serious tone that unravels with a shocking mean spirited.

Every single character in the narrative is slimy, evil, and conniving. Meanwhile Alison is poorly fleshed out and quite bland, while Michael is easily one of the most (infuriatingly) incompetent horror movie protagonists ever put to screen. The script has such contempt for these characters that they do nothing even remotely sensible or clever. Meanwhile there are side plots and sub-plots that go nowhere, and there is zero explanation for the setting. So why is a plastic surgery hospital committing these experiments? Was the cosmetic surgery just a front for something bigger and more sinister? If so, what was the end goal for it all?

What did abortions have to do with the experiments? Who bankrolled these experiments? Are other clinics and hospitals in the region conducting these tests? Granted, “Yummy” is filled with gnarly gore, great zombie effects, and some palpable tension, but it’s lost in a lazy, sloppy, meandering script, and cardboard characters.

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs every year, and this year runs virtually from August 20th until September 2nd.