Well, well, what do we have here? A good zombie movie that completely flew under my radar?
The Girl with All the Gifts is indeed a good one, mostly for the way it stands apart from other zombie movies.
What will probably strike you first is that the film doesn’t rely too heavily on blood and gore. Actually, there’s not much more than what you’ll find in an average action movie. Okay, there’s one or two torn apart bodies. I mean, it’s still a zombie movie, right? You’ve been warned.
The other big differentiator is the way the zombies look. Rather than your typical walking dead, zombies in The Girl with All the Gifts look pretty vigorous. They’re not in an advanced state of decay, although there are some telltale signs.
Survivors of the apocalypse, which took place long before the story begins, have developed a number of techniques to hide from the zombies. I won’t say too much about this to avoid spoilers. While this is interesting, it has a tendency to rob the film of some of the suspense.
As I mentioned, the story takes place well after most of the population has turned into hungries thanks to some disease. The disease itself is one of the more original and interesting parts of the story, as it has a real purpose. That’s right, for once the zombies are here for a reason.That means there is a bigger plan than just, you know, eat people.
So we meet a bunch of kids attending school in some kind of an underground bunker while restrained in wheelchairs. Naturally, there is something is wrong with those kids, and we find out really quickly what it is. In addition to the children, we also meet their kindly teacher, a scientist (Glen Close!) who dedicated her life finding a cure at any cost, and an army sergeant responsible for the security of the place who just doesn’t trust those weird kids.
In the middle of this mess is Melanie, the cornerstone of the story. It’s all about her journey with that group of people, trying to figure out how to be a children, to be loved by others. She is obviously a very smart girl who cares for others, even those who only see a threat in her. She is well aware of “what” she is though.
As the base they were all living in will quickly fall apart, Meanie will do everything she can to lead “her” people to safety. She does this in spite of the mistrust from the Sergeant, and a scientist who only sees her as a cure (the kind of cure you need to sacrifice a lot to get).
Could this be the beginnings of a big upheaval for all mankind?
What I liked most about The Girl with All the Gifts is the original way it brings zombies to us. The reason they are here, their look, and their abilities (and non abilities). It has a very different approach from the standard zombie fare. It’s not going to revolutionize the genre, but I still found it very refreshing.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, I also liked Glen Close. Her character hews much to closely to Carol from The Walking Dead, but she’s still great.