Film & TV

Santa Clarita Diet Review: Dawn of the Mombie

Drew Barrymore adds herself to the list of A list movie stars making the jump to the small screen with her debut in Netflix’s new zombie screwball comedy ‘Santa Clarita Diet’.

Barrymore plays Sheila Hammond a residential realter living in the suburbs of Santa Clarita. Sheila’s marriage to Joel (Timothy Olyphant) has been overtaken by routine and both characters lives’ have begun to stagnate, until a mysterious virus causes life as they know it to change possibly forever. It is a day like any other, until Sheila throws up a whole lot of yellow gunk (and I mean a lot) causing her to become a member of the undead that can only eat human flesh.

Comedy ensues as Sheila and Joel balance setting a good example for their teenage daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) whilst finding a way to provide Sheila with a food source without their secret being uncovered by their obnoxiously nosy neighbours, or the police for that matter.

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If I am honest, I was expecting a lot more from this series. The Zombies-are-people-too genre is a fun concept which has been successfully done in the past. Adaptations, such as iZombie and Warm Bodies re-wrote our preconceptions of the Zombie and its respective mythology.

Unfortunately, ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ misses the mark as the show lacks focus and becomes repetitive after a few episodes. The show’s situational comedy element is recreated in nearly every instalment. Sheila needs food, the couple set a target, and after a lot of protesting Joel decides to help, but things don’t go exactly to plan.

It got to the point where I was more interested in their daughter’s rebellious escapades, as acting out is a way for her to come to terms with her mum’s new lifestyle, than Barrymore’s main storyline. The series plods along until the last few episodes with enough intriguing plotline to promise a fun Season 2.

The show is not without its faults but it is still witty and enjoyable. Barrymore and Olyphant are great in their respective roles and mesh well together as a millennial sit-com couple. An even better coupling is Abby and her love struck neighbour Eric (Skylar Gisondo) who provide some of the best comedic moments in the show.

Verdict: ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ is more light-hearted and family friendly than it sounds, once you get past some of the gross scenes and accept that zombies could be our next-door neighbours. Overall ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ doesn’t match the calibre of some of Netflix’s other original shows but it is still a good series in the grand scheme of things. I will probably end up watching Season 2 if it returns because it feels as though Season 1 held a lot back and was just a warm up for future instalments.

Polly Dorrofield

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One Comment
  • nathan
    8 May 2017 at 20:24
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    Well written!

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