The Girl with All the Gifts offers nothing new about the zombie invasion, but it remains a psychologically haunting movie because of its uncompromising view of a post-apocalyptic future that comes with eerie implications.
A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie (Sennia Nanua).
Zombie movies are always about the survival of the human specie, but is mankind really worth it?
The Girl with All the Gifts asks this question for a different take on the tired zombie apocalypse.
As the zombies attack a military base that also houses special children, a small group manages to escape with the most clever of them all, Melanie. The story becomes one part atmospheric horror and one part survival, as the group tries to navigate their zombie infested world. The girl ends up being an integral part of their survival which brings in an interesting twist to the genre, especially when you know what makes her special. The wise choice of focusing on her point of view also brings in interesting questions that the story sets up along the way.
The different perspectives of the adults around Melanie shape the moral dilemmas of the story – Sgt. Eddie Parks is a practical soldier bound by his duty, Helen is a compassionate teacher that tries to keep the vestiges of humanity they have left, and Dr. Caldwell is a pragmatic scientist who seeks to find a cure no matter what it takes.
Newcomer Sennia Nanua does well next to the veterans. They manage to create different types of people even though we are given little about the characters.
Elsewhere, The Girl With All the Gifts also doesn’t offer much. The plot comes in with typical elements – a zombie apocalypse triggered by a virus, a new moniker for the Z word, stock characters, and the quest for survival plot. The world building here is nothing new either. In fact, the movie does little in generating a sense of fear or suspense.
On the other hand, The Girl with All the Gifts is not here to re-imagine a new picture for the zombie apocalypse nor present new creative ways to kill “hungries”. It aims to present the hard-hitting questions that zombie movies traipse around to bring hope in the midst of the carnage – should we save mankind that’s on the brink of extinction or should we just accept the facts to start a new future?
In the end when Melanie finally decides what that should be as part of the next generation, the result is an uncompromising view of human kind’s place in the new food chain. This leaves you with implications that will haunt your thoughts.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a revisit to the world of zombies, but its conundrum of practicality vs. morality makes it a worthwhile thought provoking look on the genre.
My Rating: 7/10