Imagine a Drew Barrymore-led TV comedy in which she plays a real estate agent alongside her husband (played by the handsome Timothy Olyphant), a suburban mom, and a zombie. Actually, you don't have to imagine, because that's the exact premise of her new show hitting Netflix in full on Friday, Feb. 3. And yes, zombie Drew is just as charming as rom-com Drew. But at the end of the day, it is a series about a zombie and the trailer does tease some intense, violent moments. So before settling in to watch the first season, viewers need to know if Santa Clarita Diet is scary and should be watched with the lights on.
It turns out, there's a pretty good ratio of horror to comedy in this, well, horror comedy. Santa Clarita Diet starts out like a normal comedy, though the protagonist is at first a little vanilla. Sheila, played by Barrymore, doesn't like spontaneous sex and talks about how she could never be brave like Jennifer Lawrence and cut her hair. We meet a few similarly bland characters — neighbors, co-workers, teens — and then there is an abrupt and gruesome episode of vomiting. The volume is so great, it lends itself to several jokes about the "insane" amount of vomit. (I'm getting queasy just writing about it.) The gruesome gag goes on for a while, and it's our first dose of horror mixed with comedy on the series.
This is essentially the level of "scary" that you should expect from all of Santa Clarita Diet. The series is not a tense nail-biter, but a girl's got to eat, and this girl happens to be a zombie. So while there are no jump-out-of-your-seat scary moments, the scenes in which Sheila feeds are violent and gory. There's lots of blood, organs, and crunching of bone. But if you can get past these dark scenes (or close your eyes during them) you'll enjoy the comedic juxtaposition of a zombie mom getting used to eating people while finally coming out of her shell.
When it comes to story, Santa Clarita Diet has a bright and bubbly plot about Sheila turning over a new leaf. Now that she's dead, she can finally say yes to life. Her next chapter includes great sex, new friendships, building a strong relationship with her daughter, and treating herself — whether that be with Range Rovers or eating people who deserve it.
There's plenty of comedy and love to carry the gore, and you don't have to be brave to like the show, but it's still not for the faint of heart — or the squeamish. As it turns out, the Santa Clarita Diet is heavy on blood and guts.