“Ravenous” sounds a lot like a nasty little exploitation movie, akin to “Cannibal Holocaust.” What keeps it from being pure grime is its sense of humor. It can toggle between those two moods with the flip of a switch.
Let’s set the scene. Boyd and Private Reich (McDonough) have finished investigating the cannibal cave and realized the truth about Ives. They rush out of the cave in vain trying to warn their comrades, while Ives is digging through the ground for a knife he hid like a wolf retrieving a buried bone. The orchestral score keeps up a relentless pace as the editing deploys close-ups of all the characters in rapid succession, keeping the audience on their toes.
Then the suspense pays off with a burst of violence, Ives slaughtering everyone except Private Toffler (Davies). Instead, the Colonel dares the private to run. When the chase begins, gone is the ominous score that had been beating in the audience’s eardrums. Instead, the score turns into a Banjo theme right out of a Benny Hill sketch.
“Yellowjackets” has a similarly dark, sometimes abrupt sense of humor. Take the scene in episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee,” where Misty (Christina Ricci) barges into Natalie’s (Juliette Lewis) hotel room to stop her from snorting coke. The scene’s music stops when Misty bursts through the door, underlining the physical comedy of the scene, from Natalie following over headfirst to the two women throwing hands.
Whether in “Yellowjackets” or “Ravenous,” these sudden tone shifts may get your jaw to drop, but they will definitely have you laughing