The Girl With All The Gifts


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Girl With All The Gifts
"It's never easy to remain true to Armageddon while retaining a positive attitude towards life after life"

Zombies are becoming more popular than vampires. It must be the influence of The Walking Dead, or, maybe, World War Z.

This is a low budget indy Brit addition to the genre with an interesting central theme. It's not a keep-on-running scenario with the cast diminishing slowly, like teens in a wood, until only the stars remain.

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There aren't any stars here, although there are, if you count Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine playing in a low key. The gifted girl is Melanie (a confident performance from Sennia Nanua). She's the one who matters. She could save the world.

Plot Spoiler 1: London has been overwhelmed by The Hungries who hang around the streets like drug addicts, apparently asleep while standing up. A sudden noise, or the smell of a Normal, will wake them in an instant and then it's feeding time at the zoo.

Melanie is the offspring of a Hungry. She lives with similar children of the same age in individual cells in an underground lab where teacher Helen (Arterton) tells them stories, because that's what they like, and Dr Caldwell (Close) works on a vaccine that involves beheading the young prisoners and dissecting their brains.

Plot Spoiler 2: they escape into the city. Will they survive the Hungries who wait in packs when they're not evolving into creeping vines that produce deadly pods. Will the doc make use of Melanie's brain to conclude her work before she falls victim to blood poisoning? Is the world doomed? Is the film odd enough to be original?

It is excellent at setting up a complex progression of events and trusting Nanua to carry the audience with her. Considine as the army sergeant represents an authoritative figure from the pre-zom era and Arterton is so nice she squeaks.

The real drama is between the doc and the girl. Who will die, and who will die? What happens when the pods explode, releasing their toxic dust? Is there hope for the hopeless?

Sadly the ending disappoints. It's never easy to remain true to Armageddon while retaining a positive attitude towards life after life.

Reviewed on: 23 Sep 2016
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The Girl With All The Gifts packshot
A scientist and a child make a bid for survival in a world of zombies.
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Director: Colm McCarthy

Writer: Mike Carey, based on his novel

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Sennia Nanua, Dominique Tipper, Anamaria Marinca, Lobna Futers, Daniel Eghan, Fisayo Akinade, Anthony Welsh, Stacey Lynn Crowe, Elise Reed, Macey Ward, Tessa Morris, Ross Green

Year: 2016

Runtime: 111 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, UK


Locarno 2016

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