Netflix and Spill: Santa Clarita Diet

We all question the lives of our neighbours next door, but it is safe to say that we are not living with zombies in our street. Given the success of shows like the The Walking Dead, these creatures are seemingly back in fashion.

Drew Barrymore  (Whip It, Blended) and hubby Joel (Snowden, Justified) are the picture perfect real estate power couple in the family friendly LA suburb Santa Clarita. In what is surely reminiscent of the same incestuous community theme of Desperate Housewives,  they keep up appearances while hiding a shocking secret behind closed doors-Sheila is a ravenous zombie who must feed on human flesh in order to satisfy her insatiable appetite. There is even DH alumnus Ricardo Antonio Chavira, who is the delightfully douchey sheriff Dan.

Before rolling your eyes at the happily married real estate cliche, be prepared for the gruesome first episode that does not leave anything to the imagination. When selling a house, Sheila is so consumed with her virus that she projectiles everywhere (even throwing up an organ in the process).

Indeed, the graphic violent scenes are so gratuitous that their farcical element is superseded, but the humour lies in how much Barrymore downplays her affliction. “I’m so much more energetic! I get so much done around the house,” she exclaims after nonchalantly eating raw meat. Joel is clearly the more exasperated of the two, while he searches for a cure and trying to evade the attention of the authorities who are in close proximity. “Why do we gotta live between two cops? Why couldn’t we live between two pastry chefs?”

Supporting cast includes Liv Hewson (Before I Fall)  as the couple’s rebellious daughter Abby and geek Eric (Skyler Gisondo) who tries to make sense of it all based on comic books and forums. They are quick to point out the hypocrisies of their parents who insist that everybody try and act normal, despite the increasing body count.  After all, your mother is still your mother even if she is a monster.

SCD has a mischievous, playful tone, and the cast are all strong in portraying the absurd yet realistic at times moral dilemma of the series.  We are challenged to consider whether we can justify killing a bad person if it is for a good cause. Mixing a comedy and drama together in this regard is subsequently jarring.

Sometimes, the life and plot of the story is sucked out of  the series with unnecessary deaths and pedestrian style suburban antics. However, there are enough hilarious moments to bite into.


A Netflix Original Series