The zombie genre has been on a weird ride over the last five or so years and it seemed that, like the vampire genre, it was running out of steam, it definitely was taking its toll on me! That was until the other day though and I saw the brilliant new zombie film The Girl with All the Gifts.
The Girl with All the Gifts is an adaptation of the book of the same name, written by M.R Carey. I had read the book a couple years ago and had been pleasantly surprised at how well a zombie story had been presented on the page rather than on the screen. Now it’s on the big screen and there is something about it that feels so fresh, it’s a story like one we haven’t seen before, not even the The Last of Us which many people have compared the trailer to. The film follows a scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future as they embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.
The author of the book also wrote the screenplay for this film, which shows because it sticks very close to the source material and does not hold out on its pretty crazy ending which I thought may have been tampered with. Credit should also go to the casting director though who brought together the brilliant cast made up of Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close and newcomer Sennia Nanua who, as child actors go, is pretty darn good and thankfully so, since her performance carries the film. The characters in this film felt like they had been ripped from the pages of the book, they looked and sounded just like I had imagined them to.
The zombies themselves are slightly different, they run, which isn’t original but it’s never been something I’ve always liked, in this film though it really worked, it made the zombies very scary and the situations that the characters were in almost nail-biting tense as you knew they could never just stab their way out of it. This mixed with some excellent sound design and some of the best and most terrifying zombie transformations I’ve seen made for a very tense and scary film at times. Setting a zombie film in England is something we’ve seen before but it’s been a while. It was great seeing dystopian style city high streets equipped with all shops we’re used to and helped put me in the shoes of the characters.
The many twists and turns this film takes and the introduction of new elements to the zombie genre really solidifies this as one of the best films out there. Like many great films, it takes a look at our own society and reflects and criticises how in this day and age we would probably handle the unknown. This film felt so refreshing and so original and even though I had already read the source material, I still was taken back by just how invested and tense I was becoming during certain scenes. The music in the film was unlike anything I had ever heard before in the genre and was able to hit me emotionally as well as unnerving me at the same time.
Now it’s not for everyone, for one if you don’t like zombies or gore this probably won’t be for you. It’s not perfect, there’s the odd strange decision made by characters and the ending comes so quickly after a slow build up that I’m sure it won’t sit well with everyone. I really enjoyed this one though and was so happy to see just how true the filmmakers had been to the book and also how much they had invested into making this something different and allowing it to stand out in an ocean worth of zombie films. I'm giving The Girl with All the Gifts a rating of 4.5/5.
Have you seen the film? If not then stop what you're doing and go to the cinema! And if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!