The Girl With All the GiftsToronto Film Festival 2016
Many zombie movies trigger “what if?” questions, but The Girl With All the Gifts takes the speculation of zombie-pocalypse to a whole new level. Starting with a crazy twist to an already horrific premise, this disaster flick is as thrilling for the lovers of gore – which is present, yet in very tasteful amounts – as it is deep on topics of humanity, love and life. Based on the successful 2014 book by M. R. Carey, this gruesome Armageddon story that somehow brings together reflection is not to be missed.
Set in a world where a fungal infection has transformed the majority of the population into living dead, or so-called “hungries”, the only humans left are barricaded in military camps, fighting off the herds of flesh-eating stand-in corpses. The plot focuses around Melanie (Sennia Nanua), one of a handful of children that has been infected but has normal, human appearance and behaviour unless provoked by the smell of flesh. Melanie shows signs of intelligence, sweetness, and even love. When the base is attacked, she joins the few survivors’ escape to safety through an eerie post-apocalyptic London, defending and helping what should be her meal.
The Girl With All the Gifts has many layers to it, with a sort of scientific logic and biological explanations that succeed in holding up the many themes tackled. Where is the line between a human and a zombie? Can a zombie be capable of love? Is a zombie alive? And between two living creatures, does anyone have more right than the other to live? Like the novel, this production lends itself to multiple lines of analysis.
12-year-old Nanua is absolutely heart-robbing and heart-breaking in her role, portraying a polite, picture-perfect little girl until she bares her teeth to satisfy her blood-loving DNA. Definitely the centres of gravity of the whole picture are co-actors Gemma Arterton, as Miss Justineau the sensitive schoolteacher the semi-zombie child bonds with, Glenn Close as Dr. Coldwell, professor at the base, and Paddy Cosidine as Sgt. Eddie Parks.
The philosophical potential of horror is fully present in The Girl With All the Gifts, although never stealing the show of some good old cannibal craze and blood splatter. Director Colm McCarthy brings Carey’s novel to the screen beautifully, delivering a memorable and high-quality zombie feature.
The Girl With All the Gifts will be released on 23rd September 2016.
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Watch the trailer of The Girl With All the Gifts here: