Friday, February 10, 2017

TV Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet

Netflix takes a new spin on zombies with the story of real estate agent Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) who suddenly develops a strong craving for raw meat and then human flesh. Her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant) takes a unique approach to this new development by helping Sheila satiate her craving by committing all sorts of dastardly deeds. Their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) not only has to deal with the troubles of a teenage girl but must cope with her parents' new secret. She turns to the neighbor Eric Bemis (Skyler Gisondo) to help her figure out what is happening to her mother.

Each episode digs them further into trouble as they must cover up their previous murders and find new flesh to feed Sheila. The most difficult part of their elaborate cover up are the two police next door. Dan (Ricardo Chavira) and Lisa Palmer (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) live on one side of the family. Dan, Eric's stepfather, investigates a finger he finds in the Hammond's yard. He demands that Joel and Sheila commit murders of people he claims are criminals.

The Hammonds are incredibly inept at making excuses but since Sheila can devour the dead bodies, they often avoid getting caught with the evidence. The sight of Barrymore crunching on body parts is equal parts humorous and disgusting. The effects of becoming a zombie alter Sheila's personality and she becomes wild and crazy taking risk that she would have never taken before. She buys a new car and encourages her daughter to drop out of school.

The show knows exactly how to end each episode to make this story incredibly bingeable. Olyphant's goofy stoner dad contrasts well with at first anal Sheila and then a bit too wild zombie Sheila who is quick to jump forward and take a bit out of an asshole's neck. There are solid comedic supporting characters like Rick (Richard T. Jones), the other neighbor cop who partakes in Joel's toking, Principal Novak (Thomas Lennon) and his crazy Serbian grandmother (Grace Zabriskie).

Santa Clarita was a quick and goofy watch. The show mixes horror and comedy well and has enough of a mystery to sustain the plot for the repetitiveness of constant murder and coverups. I'd recommend Santa Clarita Diet to those who can stand a bit of violence and appreciate a bit of zombie humor. Both Barrymore and Olyphant are funny to watch and have solid young talent with Gisondo and Hewson. Another great addition to Netflix's long list of original shows. 

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