When it comes to genre offerings, Netflix has been killing it lately (pun intended, sorry). Their upcoming offering, Santa Clarita Diet, will serve up a balanced meal of horror and comedy with a dash of family drama.
The early description from Netflix sets the scene, but leaves out an important detail.
“In Santa Clarita Diet, Joel (Timothy Olyphant, Justified) and Sheila (Drew Barrymore, Blended) are husband and wife realtors leading vaguely discontented lives in the L.A. suburb of Santa Clarita with their teenaged daughter Abby (Liv Hewson), until Sheila goes through a dramatic change sending their lives down a road of death and destruction…but in a good way.”
The “dramatic change” that they’re referring to is the death of Drew Barrymore’s character, Sheila. The kicker is that – for whatever reason – she remains vertical. Walking, talking, and with an insatiable desire to consume raw human flesh. In the words of Jud Crandall, sometimes dead is better.
Sheila decides that the best way to satisfy her horrible craving is to only eat those who really deserve it. Ultimately practical, she turns terrible people into a gruesome and nutritious protein shake. It sounds kind of like Dexter meets iZombie, but with really mindful lifestyle choices.
Created by Victor Fresco (My Name is Earl, Better Off Ted), the show takes a (much needed) fresh and satirical approach to the zombie genre.
In an interview with USA Today, Drew Barrymore spoke about the development of her cannibalistic conversion “We do this sort of Cro-Magnon type of evolution with her over the course of the 10 episodes. No gimmicks, no prosthetics, just an awakening”
It sounds like an interesting take on the “oh no what’s this I’m actually some kind of monster” trope that can be found in most possession and werewolf films.
It’s worth mentioning that the first two episodes were directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and we can expect to see some guest appearances from fan favorites like Nathan Fillion (Slither).
If the tongue-in-cheek promotional material is any indication of the moxie that we can expect from the series, it should be good fun. When you open the Santa Clarita Diet website, you’re greeted with the cheerful promotion of a positive lifestyle. The web design rivals that of any “miracle diet” site.
The inclusion of cheeky testimonials such as “The Santa Clarita Diet is so versatile. You can do it with any body!” is a nice touch. I see what you did there, Santa Clarita Diet. Well played.
Overall, it should be a charming-but-dark look at family dynamics, daily struggles, and straight up murder.
Santa Clarita Diet premiers on Netflix on Friday, February 3.