Netflix Review: Santa Clarita Diet


By Jessica Alewine (@awkwardalewine)
Comedic horror is a genre very rarely done well, and, yet, Santa Clarita Diet manages to perfectly encapsulate the grotesque hilarity necessary to have a successful comedic horror show. When the Drew Barrymore vehicle was announced, the summary of the show was closely guarded. So, when the trailers and summary finally dropped, it was shocking to see that Drew would not, in fact, just be playing a housewife with a passion for weight loss, as the name might imply. Instead, fans would be seeing Drew playing an undead suburban mom, a role perfectly suited to her quirky personality.
The show starts off slowly, with Sheila Hammond, portrayed by Barrymore, in a somewhat stale marriage. Her husband, Joel, played by Timothy Olyphant, is dissatisfied with their relationship, and both seem bored with the repetitive nature of their marriage. They get up each day only to make the same breakfast, complain about the dials on the toaster, and go to work selling houses as real estate agents. The show, at this point, is about as monotonous as their relationship. We get an occasional reprieve with the couple’s relationship with their daughter, Abby, but for the most part the introduction of the series left me bored.
The plot of the show was suddenly accelerated during an open house when Sheila suddenly starts projectile vomiting in front of two potential buyers. This was The Exorcism level projectile vomiting, and it left the clients, her husband, and viewers horrified. The comical gore and undead plot began to carry the show at this point. It’s as the show begins to explore the effects of Sheila’s new diet of raw meat (aka people) on her family and her relationships with her neighbors that the show really hits its stride. It perfectly blends the typical sitcom humor with the sort of violence that is normally reserved for the most gruesome of horror movies.
With each half-eaten corpse, each dismemberment and each gruesome murder, I became more taken with the show. Not because I’m a huge fan of gore, but because I’m not a fan of gore and this show was still making me laugh. Watching Barrymore seductively bite the fingers off of a very handsome guest star left me laughing from the sheer unexpected humor of the situation. The failed attempt at capturing several “bad guys” left me gasping as I saw Barrymore and Olyphant bounce off of each other in what could have been a serious capture scene.
The wonderful premise and writing, however, would have been nothing without the excellent acting of Barrymore, Olyphant, and the stellar supporting cast. Nathan Fillion made a delightful smarmy jerk, Mary Elizabeth Ellis was the perfect fit as the rebellious soccer mom with a slight identity crisis, and Skyler Gisondo and Liv Hewson stole the show with their roles as the feisty teenage daughter and the expert in all things nerdy, respectively.
While the show did drag on at some points and left a little to be desired in an ending (I’ve never been a fan of cliffhangers), the heart of the show and the cast carried it through. If you’re looking for a serious horror show, this is not the pick for you. But if you are a fan of movies like Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, the original Evil Dead and the Scream Franchise, then this show will leave you satisfied.

Rating: 4/5

    One Comment

  1. AmyFebruary 8th, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Sounds awesome! I’ll have to check it out soon. I am also not a huge fan of gore, so it’s good to know I might still like it.
    Great review.

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