THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (2016)
Review by L.L. Soares
Considering how many zombie movies there have been lately, it’s pretty hard to come up with a spin on the subject that seems fresh, but somehow THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (2016) does just that. This movie starts out as one thing, and becomes something quite different. So, I’ll try my best not to ruin any of the surprises.
We begin in a military bunker. Children are being kept in cells by armed soldiers. Every morning, the soldiers wake the children up, strap them to wheelchairs so they can’t move very much, and then wheel them to a classroom. The classroom’s teacher, Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton, also in CLASH OF THE TITANS, 2010, the excellent BYZANTIUM, 2012, and she was Gretel in HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, 2013), clearly feels sorry for the children, and tries to teach them, but they keep asking her to tell them stories instead. She can’t help but give in. One of the children in particular, Melanie (Sennia Nanua) seems so eager to please, and is the teacher’s pet.
Why are these children being imprisoned, and what do the soldiers want with them? Does it have anything to do with the hordes of zombies outside the fences that are trying to get in? When those hordes finally break through the fence, it’s time to skedaddle. Miss Junstineau escapes with Melaine, along with a cold-blooded research scientist named Dr. Caroline Caldwell (the great Glenn Close, also in FATAL ATTRACTION, 1987, DANGEROUS LIAISONS, 1988, and ALBERT NOBBS, 2011), and a handful of soliders, led by Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine, also in HOT FUZZ, 2007, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, 2007, and THE WORLD’S END, 2013).
It’s a dangerous world out there, and our little survival party does their best to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic London, while they wait to be rescued by Army personnel who may or may not be coming.
The flesh-eating zombies are a result of a contagion, of course, and they move very fast. They react to two things especially, smell and loud noises. The humans use a skin block gel to hide their scents, but it’s running low. And guns make a lot of noise when you’re trying to stay alive.
So, who stays alive?
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS goes in some interesting directions as our protagonists try to stay alive long enough to be rescued. The screenplay by Mike Carey, based on his novel (as M.R. Carey), is smart and quite good. The acting is top-notch, especially child actor Sennia Nanua, who plays the title girl. She’s sweet, loyal, and tries her best to do the right thing. But it’s not always easy.
And director Colm McCarthy, who also made the movie OUTCAST (2010), and has directed episodes of DR. WHO, SHERLOCK, and PEAKY BLINDERS, shines here as well.
Beyond that, I can’t say, except to say that this is an above-average zombie flick, and that you should see it. It’s currently streaming online at the usual places.
I give it four knives.
© Copyright 2017 by L.L. Soares
LL Soares gives THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS~four knives.