Thoughts on “The Girl With All The Gifts”
Believe it or not there’s life in zombie films. The classics and the modern take on the zombie masses stay the same – hungry for blood, hungry for flesh – but are reinvented to fit the new take in The Girl With All The Gifts. The zombies are like pop-culture has defined them, but altered – think activated by noise, on reaction. Less continuously devouring unless inclined too.
The story follows Melanie (Sennia Nanua) a girl who for intents and purposes is a zombie, or a hungry. The treatment of other children in the facility they live in provides safety and shelter from the world that is overrun by the infected. Although the approach is leaving you to wonder how bad it is on the outside without a glimpse until it falls apart – leading you straight into the chaos as fresh as the characters do.
The bunker is essentially a training ground for educating the infected children – running tests on them and working towards a cure. Dr Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close) heads up the experiments, which she picks test subjects by random selection via Melanie. Asking her to pick number from 1 to 20, eventually picking 4; Melanie’s room number, choosing her for experimentation.
Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) approaches the children with care, and this fact resonates with you because there are two ways to approach the information given; should you feel sad for the children because of their age & a cruel experience of life they’ve lived. Or, is it that they’re not redeemable due to their zombification, that they are a danger and not worth the risk.
On the other hand, there’s Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) a no bullshit soldier, trained for the mission; follows protocol to the T. His approach deflects emotion for the state of reality, they’re infected; not children.
You can’t help but feel empathy for the children. Their lives cut short, via the end of the world – as abrupt as it is for the characters – it is for the viewer.
After an attack on their base the remaining survivors left alive Melanie, Dr Caldwell, Justineau, Eddie, Kieran Gallagher (Fisayo Akinade) & Dillon (Anthony Welsh) head out to find refuge in London. They come across hordes of infected, the future of the film revolves around these tense moments, where at any point they could be killed in a moments notice.
The layer of character development adds the the emotional weight burdened on you as you journey wit the characters I’m search of safety, a cure, and a future. In something that should follow the same trajectory; The Girl With All The Gifts changes direction in a moment where you couldn’t expect to happen.
The sound design filled in the space with audible paranoia, the light murmur that rings throughout is unsettling.
Some moments felt out of place and a few performances fell flat and didn’t feel of this world, that they’re in this situation making some scenes slapstick and lighthearted.
A gripe with the choices in the editing room that bother me was the choice of where to end the film. A perspective shift is the greatest moment the film could have left us with, but decides to add an extra glimpse at the world they now inhabit – nevertheless, still an ending act to be dynamic.