The premiere of Santa Clarita Diet marks another hit for Netflix and for Drew Barrymore, who ventures just a little farther from her comedic comfort zone by incorporating elements of the horror genre into her latest project. Playing a zombie mom has presented its challenges for Barrymore, but it all seems to have worked out well, because critics of Netflix’s newest offering find themselves drawn to the charm, and at times, quirky humor dished out by Santa Clarita Diet. Drew Barrymore isn’t the only name to watch for in the new Netflix series either. Critics and viewers are finding that Liv Hewson’s Abbey is as much fun to watch as Barrymore’s Sheila.
Santa Clarita Diet Is The New Fun Fad
In recent years, the zombie sub-genre of horror has seen a rebirth of sorts, thanks in part to the popularity of The Walking Dead, but a new offering from Netflix casts funny girl Drew Barrymore in what may be the most absurd story of zombies in suburbia yet. Reviewing Santa Clarita Diet, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that, as cliche and simple as the Netflix zombie comedy may be, it does have its own unique charm. In fact, Santa Clarita Diet plays heavily on the use of zombies as a metaphor for suburban life and marriage, using humor to point out the failings of middle class life.
Santa Clarita Diet tells the story of Sheila (Barrymore) and Joel (Olyphant), who married right out of high school, and typical of the idyllic American dream, have moved into the suburbs to nurture their family and pursue their careers as realtors. While everyone is generally happy, Drew and Timothy play partners who do feel inadequate in some parts of their lives and this, eventually, filters into their relationship. Complicating matters further on the Netflix horror/comedy, their daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson), is eager to get her own set of wheels, hoping a car would help her escape becoming trapped in Santa Clarita like her parents.
In the beginning, as the new Netflix comedy sets this story up, it seems that Santa Clarita Diet is merely another formula comedy, but, for those hoping Drew Barrymore will bring greater bite to the sitcom scene, there won’t be a long wait. Early in the first episode, Barrymore’s character is transformed — through a particularly gruesome scene — into a flesh eater.
Once Drew gets the bite, Santa Clarita Diet shows its true nature, becoming something more than a zombie love story. The Netflix show stresses the experience of becoming a zombie with Barrymore going through the trials of a newly undead creature, while still trying to cope with the everyday trappings of suburban life.
Liv Hewson Is Santa Clarita Diet‘s New Breakout Star
Joining the Netflix comedy is giving Liv Hewson greater exposure than ever before, though she has been acting since 2013 and has starred in a number of short films and guest appearances, reports Bustle. Now, even before Santa Clarita Diet has had a chance to develop a following of its own, Hewson has already been tapped to star in more major projects and feature films, such as Before I Fall and Let’s See How Fast This Baby Will Go.
When asked what drew her to Santa Clarita Diet, Hewson reveals that she signed on to play Abbey just as a stroke of luck, as she often takes a chance on any role she has been offered.
“I think I’m a glutton for punishment,” Hewson says. “I love being challenged. Whether it’s drama, whether it’s comedy, I’ll get my grubby little hands on anything and sink my teeth into it.”
Even so, Liv says she can definitely identify with her Santa Clarita Diet character, particularly in the way she’s trying to escape her hometown. Hewson says Abbey is really just trying to become her own person, but she feels stifled by her tightly knit community and her parents.
Ms. Hewson also complimented the Netflix show’s writers for crafting a well-conceived, three-dimensional character.
“She’s not afraid to assert what she’s comfortable with and what she wants to do,” says the Santa Clarita Diet actress. “She’s turning into a very self-assured, confident person and I really, really like how the show built that up for her.”
Santa Clarita Diet will begin streaming on Netflix on Friday, February 2.
[Featured Image by Netflix]