TV review: Santa Clarita Diet, Netflix
Cannibal comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant
This brand new comedy horror series written by Victor Fresco (Better off Ted) casts Drew Barrymore in her first television role. Barrymore plays realtor Sheila who quite literally vomits up her guts and starts to develop a taste for flesh. Her husband and business partner Joel (Timothy Olyphant, all wide-eyed bewilderment) and daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) struggle to come to terms with Sheila's new lifestyle choices but do their best to help her through this strange transition. Luckily, their next door neighbour's son Eric (Skyler Gisondo) is well versed in matters of the undead.
Midlife ennui in suburbia is the crux of the majority of humour explored in Santa Clarita Diet, with the strange underbelly and scandal of the local area a close second. Ricardo Chavira's performance as a meddling law man and step-dad to Eric is convincingly mean and the show does have a heightened ambience similar to Desperate Housewives (which coincidently also starred Chavira) with its characters' shady dealings threatening to undo them at any given minute. However, compared to that aforementioned show it doesn't deliver the same level of sophistication instead opting for slapstick and gross-out comedy, which makes sense considering its horror roots.
The prosthetics team have done a great job with dangling eyeballs, slippery innards and producing vats of vomit and deliver some particularly amusing visual gags. Special mention must go to Hewson who has perfected the dry mannerisms of a disaffected teenager who gets to play out her frustrations with her parents with a whole host of fun escapades. It's a shame that Sheila and Joel aren't as entertaining. Despite the great set-up their narrative plays out in a very broad way and lacks genuine weirdness aside from the initial joke which gets stretched out very thinly.
Santa Clarita Diet is available on Netflix from Fri 3 Feb.