Movie Review: The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Released in 2016, The Girl with All the Gifts is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror film, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Mike Carey. Directed by Colm McCarthy (various episodes of Sherlock, Black Mirror and many others), the film revolves around Melanie (Sennia Nanua), one of several hybrid zombie-human children, and those in charge of her, including her teacher, Helen Justineau (Gemma Arteton), rough military Sergeant, Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) and head scientist Dr Daroline Caldwell (Glenn Close).

+ Melanie (Nanua) was equally adorable and precocious, which makes some sense considering her upbringing. Both her teacher, Helen Justineau (Arterton) and soldier companion, Sergeant Eddie Parks (Considine) were good foils for her to play off in different ways. Glenn Close was great as the shades-of-grey morality, Dr Caldwell
+ the zombies, here called ‘hungries’ (including Melanie) are a slightly different and refreshing take on the regular dumb brain eaters from most zombie media. The way they stand around, entirely stationary, until they get the scent of humans is a great visual, and once they start snapping their jaws it does get quite tense
+ the plot is relatively simple, but has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. Basically, Melanie being half a zombie makes for some interesting ‘puzzle solving’ moments, as well as showing things from her ‘living in both worlds’ perspective

thegirlwithallthegifts_2
Helen Justineau (Gemma Arteton) protects young Melanie (Sennia Nanua); but the survivors also need protection FROM Melanie.

– the opening half an hour or so is the most interesting, because it feels so unique. Once the foursome head through London proper, it become a bit more 28 Days Later, which is a great movie, but one I’ve seen before

> I know this is a bit of an older film compared to what I usually go for (that is, usually within two years of release) but it was on my list for a long time, and I don’t remember why I never got around to watching it

Should you see this film: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. The cast have great chemistry, the concept is fresh and there are a few good scientific and moral questions raised.

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