Director: Colm McCarthy
Of late the world has been overrun with so many zombie films that we assume that creatively the horror genre is pretty well braindead but it helps that ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ starts from a curious unique scenario and pretty much follows through to its conclusion. MR Carey’s novel was a gripping page turner and the film script which he adapted maintains that tension aided by a superb sound design and clanging industrial music that makes the viewer uneasy. The girl of the title, Melanie, relative unknown Sennia Nanua lives in a military installation, together with several other children who are wheeled to a makeshift classroom each day strapped to their chairs. Reprising her role as Cruella De Ville, Glenn Close’s Dr Caldwell stalks their cells at night often leading to an empty desk the next morning. It’s best you know as little as possible before seeing this film so I’ll try and keep it vague.
The only ray of light in this tomblike existence for Melanie is Gemma Arterton as teacher, Miss Justineau, the only inhabitant to show anything but fear and contempt for the inmates. The authorities want the children to be taught facts they can be tested on to judge intelligence whereas she acquiesces to their requests for stories in the guise of myths and legends, Like Pandora’s Box – big symbolism klaxon.
Their world is broken open and Melanie, Caldwell and her teacher escape across a post apocalyptic landscape with a handful of soldiers led by the gruff but-you-know-he’ll-come-round-in-the-end Sgt Parks (Paddy Considine). Its an impressively CGI and physically regendered world of abandoned schools, hospitals and shopping malls peopled (or zombled) by ‘Hungries’ – the cutest sounding canabalistic tribe evs.
Yes there are chunks of exposition to be given, obvious rules about not making a sound or any sudden movements to be broken and a little bit of ‘Music & Movement’ acting from some of the children but at heart this is an intelligent zombie flick that is a cut above the rest. Like the novel ‘I Am Legend’ and it’s spin offs like ‘The Last Man On Earth’ it poses the question – who is the monster, who deserves to live on and is this just another evolutionary step for life on earth?.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, The Last man On Earth