Just when we thought we would never find another original twist to the now predictable zombie-thriller, director Colm McCarthy presents us with The Girl with All the Gifts, set to give all flesh-eating fans some hope.
This film’s unique take on a dystopian future ruled by “hungries”, victims of a mutated fungal disease, comes with the distinctive focus on children who -unlike the other afflicted- have control over their consciousness and feelings whilst still craving flesh. We follow Professor Justineau (Gemma Arterton) who grows fond of one of the captive children: the remarkable Melanie (Sennia Nanua). The pair embark on a journey for survival accompanied by Doctor Caldwell (Glenn Close) driven by her hope of creating a cure, and the severe Sergeant Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine).
The film, inspired by M.R Carrey’s novel, effectively delivers a tense and fascinating first half, emphasised by great cinematographic decisions such as wisely timed delivery of information and the creation of a unique ambiance. Walking Dead aficionados, you shall not be deceived: beautifully blood stained scenes are not missing, and McCarthy paints the “undead” in a new way- making us dread meeting one of them, without yet forgetting their lack of consciousness. However, the plot then loses itself to the “Achilles Heel” of zombie-thrillers: a scenario which finally lacks credibility. Additionally, a flaw could be found in the soundtrack, which, while embodying McCarthy’s apparent wish to portray a world lacking music, seems limited to one tune on replay.
Still differentiating itself from other apocalyptic movies, the film questions the very morals of humanity as the movie finds in Nanua’s impressive performance both a feared “hungry” as well as endearing moments of child-like discovery. The rest of the diverse and more established cast does not fail to accentuate the great acting; especially Close who still succeeds in triggering pity behind her ruthless character.
Although not entirely revolutionising the zombie thriller, The Girl with All the Gifts keeps its promise of a unique and entertaining viewing, whilst triggering questions of moral dilemma few would expect to find in this cinematographic genre.
Image: Danny Harrison; Flickr