This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“SANTA CLARITA DIET” stars; Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skylar Gisondo and it’s created by Victor Fresco.
This story follows Sheila and Joel, a common married suburban family. They have a daughter, they are real-estate agents, seem to live a normal life, but that is not the case. Sheila is actually dead, and begins to exhibit traits of the undead, most notably a taste for humans. Something that will turn their lives upside down, as they cope with their situation, and deal with a police officer as one neighbor and a sheriff as another.
Now this show is certainly not for everyone. The comedy is often vulgar, the visuals at times are not for those with a weak stomach, and the subject matter is completely over-the-top. So of course these traits will not appeal to all, but I found this show interesting and was quickly hooked on it.
This show plays out like a sitcom. Making light out of the darkest of scenarios and it all works perfectly to build a unique set of circumstances for some likable characters. The 30-minute episodes move swiftly, as do the arcs of the story, and it was surprisingly engaging throughout each show.
To me the most important thing about this show being able to succeed other than the writing, was the cast and from top-to-bottom they were all great. Despite the neat and clever writing, the performances would have to make the material work for the show to come off as fresh and fun, rather than trying too hard and it was successful in doing just that.
Easily, both Barrymore and Olyphant shine in their performances. Their chemistry is excellent, the feel like a married couple, have a smooth rapport with one another, and they routinely sell the material with their delivery throughout the season, making the scenes work effectively as pure entertainment.
The supporting cast was great as well. Liv Hewson as the daughter was more than serviceable. The role didn’t ask much of her but she makes the most out of it to create a likable character that strays from the common tropes for characters like hers that can often be annoying in TV shows.
As for the performance of Skylar Gisondo, he was fantastic and in my opinion was the other shining light in this show besides Barrymore and Olyphant. For a young actor, he has a strong comedic delivery that comes off in a subtle way, and he felt perfect for this role.
Overall throughout this season of episodes all the cast members had their moments to shine with the wildly eccentric dialogue. This show was way over the top and it knew that, focused on that, embraced it, and the result was a fresh story, that took familiar elements and went a completely different direction with them.
For sitcom standards, this series is a success and I’m looking forward to what the second season will deliver. Now like I said this one isn’t for everyone. It does not hold back on the gore or the language, but it fits with the setting of the story and creates tons of shock-value humor, gross out humor, as well as loads of subtle laughs. In the end, I really liked this show. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant were awesome and make this one work. If you like dark comedy you will find some fun in this one without a doubt.