The Girl With All The Gifts is not your average horror movie. But is it a gift worth keeping or should you return it?
The Girl With All The Gifts is the tale of Melanie, a young girl who lives in a seemingly military controlled dystopian near future. The movie stars Gemma Arterton,Glenn Close, and Paddy Considine and is based on the best-selling novel by author M.R. Carey.
We’re first introduced to Melanie as she is awaiting transport from her cold, sterile prison cell to a classroom full of fellow restrained children. Throughout the opening minutes of the movie, it becomes clear that the military is more afraid of this these kids than she is of them.
It turns out that Melanie and her classmates are not as ordinary as they appear. They are in fact carriers of an infectious disease that has reduced the human population significantly. Before long, we find out that the military group has been fighting a losing battle against those infected with fungus. An infection that has turned the general population into 28 Days Later Esq flesh-hungry horde.
The fungus is passed like any standard Zombie style. Meaning if you get bite or come in contact with the infected then chances are you won’t last long. To avoid infection the non-infected mask themselves from “Hungries“ using blocker gel.
During the course of the movie, we learn more about the world that exists in the wake of the virus outbreak and where Melanie fits into it. Arterton and Considine are military base personnel with differing approaches to the world around them.
Arterton plays an idealistic school teacher who believes that Melanie and her classmates are not as dangerous as the military fear they are. While Considine is a realist who understands that a cold, calculated military approach is needed to ensure the survival of everyone in his charge. Close rounds out the trio as a scientist who believes that Melanie holds the key to finding a working cure to the fungus.
Considine is great as the grumpy Sgt Parks, whose character goes through a great character arc throughout the course of the movie.
Close brings a certain cold logic to the character of Dr. Caroline Caldwell. Portraying her as someone willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that her experiments can continue.
Finally, Arterton brings a certain daunted world-weariness to Justineau. She has become someone who can no longer cope with what she has witnessed and done to survive.
The real standout, however, is Sennia Nanua as Melanie. Her wide-eyed optimism is at odds with her Hungries nature. Due to budget constraints, she has to do the brunt of the heavy lifting. Including a rather chilling Lord Of The Flies sequence that is part scary, part terrifying, part hilarious all at the same time.
Directed by Colm McCarthy , this low-budget British horror sets out to ask the audience a simple question. What will you do to ensure the survival of your species? McCarty uses all his BBC TV experience to bring an intriguing movie to the big screen.
You may not recognise his name but you are sure to know some of his work. In recent years he’s worked on Ripper Street, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Peaky Blinders (season two) to name but a few. McCarthy certainly manages to wrangle a lot out of the modest budget, by Hollywood standards, and he has cleverly surrounded himself with a brilliant cast of character actors.
The movie is actually rather good for what it is. A low budget horror movie inspired by 1970’s classics. The sort of thing the UK was known for and perfected. It is somewhat similar to 28 Days Later in tone with a mix of early seasons of The Walking Dead.
If you are a fan of 28 Days Later, I Am Legend and The Walking Dead then The Girl With All The Gifts is for you. It is a movie which proves that low budget is not a problem when you combine an interesting story, a good cast, and a director who knows their stuff.