What’s so wonderful about horror is that there’s truly something for everyone. Do you find yourself compelled most by fear of the unknown? Try some supernatural horror. Scared of a violent apocalypse? There are tons of zombie films at your disposal. Home invasions? They got you. Torture Porn? There are eight Saw movies practically begging for you to watch them. There’s such a spectrum of different things with hybrids and new additions to the spectrum of the genre added what feels like every day. Young or old, squeamish or hardened, meek or fearless, I truly believe that the horror genre is the great equalizer in a way, for that it taps into something everyone innately experiences: fear.
And with that level of personalization within a genre, there does come a time when you realize something just….merely isn’t for you. Yummy is not for me, but I don’t think it’s not entirely unworthy of attention, conditions pending.
Yummy follows Alison (Maaike Neuville), a young Belgian woman traveling to an unnamed Eastern European country to receive a breast reduction from a plastic surgery facility that operates at a much lower price point than any in Belgium. She is accompanied by her boyfriend, Michael (Bart Hollanders), and her mother, Sylvia (Annick Christiaens), who is also traveling to receive a facelift. Upon arrival, the sketchy nature of the facility uneases the group, but fear for the facility’s safety is soon a moot point when they discover a restrained woman in an abandoned part of the hospital. Thinking freeing her to be the right thing to do, the group soon finds themselves in the fight for their lives when they discover the restrained woman has begun to spread a zombie virus throughout the facility.
Yummy is a strange little film, but one that I think could hit right with people who love their horror to be as irreverent and wrong as humanly possible. As if George Romero directed an episode of South Park, this is a film that’s unafraid to “go there” in every possible way. The craft that has gone into making every disgusting, off-color moment that makes up the film is undeniable. From its dedication to using mostly practical effects, to its generally effective and incredibly crude humor, to its objectively transcendent score from Nico Renson, this is a film made from a team that believes in the art of the gross-out horror-comedy. If that’s up your alley, it’s hard to imagine that Yummy would disappoint.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love South Park as much as the next person, but infusing that style into a horror film isn’t really my style, per se. I don’t find a lot of enjoyment in being pushed to my absolute limit in terms of body horror and extreme gore, as well as intertwining that with humor unafraid to abuse the audience with gross-out moments at every possible turn. It takes the meaningful punch out of something meant to truly knock you out.
I suppose much of my frustration comes from the film’s inability to make any of the film’s heavier or more clever horror moments feel like something actually horrifying. Everything in the film feels like one big sight gag, with no room for the film to really sink into its own as a hybrid genre film apart from its immense amounts of gore. Nothing about the film is particularly scary, only gross, and that begins to feel like wasted potential without any of that payoff that one would hope to get from a horror film willing to break boundaries. Even another Belgian gross-out film, Raw (one of my favorite films of 2017), found a better balance between its disgusting moments that felt truly horrifying and its more comical moments. There’s something so one-sided about Yummy that it doesn’t look to be anything but extreme, and that gets old.
For those who prefer their horror as tasteless as humanly possible, I don’t think you can do much worse than Yummy. Everyone else, who prefer something a little bit more substantial and less goofily disgusting, might be left out in the cold to the film’s extreme antics. Luckily, the film does have some truly funny moments and the craft in its practical gore effects is incredibly impressive, which shows that a lot of heart was put into the film from people with far different tastes than my own. It’s hard to call Yummy a bad film in knowing that, but it’s also hard to say that I had a very good time with the whole ordeal.
Available for streaming on Shudder beginning June 25th, 2020
Final Score: 2.5 out of 5.