Prodigy of the Dead: Our Review of ‘Girl With All The Gifts’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 25, 2017
Prodigy of the Dead: Our Review of ‘Girl With All The Gifts’

However many times filmmakers go back to the zombie well, those that are worthy and clever will continue to rise to the top. It seems to be harder and harder to find a compelling angle and story, but attention to detail and a refreshing angle will always buoy something that superficially may be familiar.

The Girl With All The Gifts takes a different angle towards a future dystopia, tweaking some parts of the genre while also embracing what makes it so satisfying. Here we find a teacher, Helen, (Gemma Arterton) working for the army in an attempt to reverse or harness the deathly effects of a fungus outbreak. They’re called ‘Hungry’s’ instead of zombies, and the outbreak has ravaged the world. People instantly turn when exposed to the fungus, morphing into ravenous, insatiable, and lightning quick killers.

However, there is hope. Helen works with children who have been exposed and indeed are hungry for flesh, but their desires are more tempered. It’s believed with training they can learn to hide or moderate their desire, meaning humans could maybe be saved.

Of course, things go wrong, the army base can’t be contained, and the interests of various humans, including a doctor (Glenn Close) who experiments on the children, create holes in their sanctuary. After interesting world-building and exposition, things get wild and explosive.

 

What holds everything together is Melanie (Sennia Nanua), the brightest, most self-aware of the girls. She is telepathic it seems, as well as polite, logical, and still yes, ravenous. Yet, she isn’t the one conflicted, and that is what makes The Girl with All the Gifts consistently fascinating. It’s those around her, including an army office (Paddy Considine) that are torn. They want to destroy her because of what she is, yet she is smarter and more capable than the humans. Even when she proves her worth and trust, she is still part Hungry, and needs to be fed.

Directed by Colm McCarthy and written by Mike Carey, whose book the film is based, Girl features all the blood, gore, and mayhem of standard zombie fare.  But with a compelling young hybrid at its centre, and a solid finish, it rises above the norm.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.