The Girl with All the Gifts: Film Review

gifts

I thought the zombie genre had been exhausted but it seems there is more life in it yet with this new thriller The Girl with All the Gifts (terrible title btw). Luckily, it takes a fresh approach and twists and turns in ways I didn’t expect but that still wasn’t enough to make it stand out – in fact, it gave me 28 Days Later vibes with the fast-running zombies and military setting.

Gemma Arterton is Helen, who works at a military base teaching children who are completely bound to their chairs – they are “Hungries”. When the base is overrun with outside zombies (that word is never used) Helen escapes with her favourite child Melanie (Sennia Nanua), who has special abilities, leading scientist Caroline (Glenn Close) and soldier Eddie (Paddy Considine) and they must fight for survival in the new dystopian land.

This starts off very mysteriously because it isn’t explained for a long time what the children are and why they are being imprisoned and taught and I liked this intrigue. We were given very little information. The siege at the base is spectacular visually and very impressive but it soon loses momentum once they are just walking around, looking for food or different bases. The Melanie angle – she is still quite human, making her a possible cure for the infection – made it fresh but most of the time I was just thinking of The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later.

It does have moments that are pretty scary or at least bloody and gruesome but it’s not massively tense. It’s a shame because it had such a strong start and even the beginning of their outside expedition was interesting and exciting, but after that it felt quite directionless like they were ambling about without any real purpose. However, I must the credit the storyline for being unexpected. It rarely took the clichéd route,  the post-apocalyptic central London setting made it different and the science aspect sets it apart a bit too. The well-known leads all did a fine job but Nanua was the most captivating and managed to inject humour into her role. I’ll keep my eye out for her from now on.

The Girls with All the Gifts is a decent addition to the zombie genre but doesn’t do enough to make it stand out or make it too exciting. The ending was an intriguing choice which I liked and I appreciate the risks it took but I just wish it was scarier or could sustain the thrills and intrigue from the beginning. The zombie genre has been done to death (pardon the pun!) and this isn’t fresh enough or amazing enough to change my view that zombies should be rested for a while.

In cinemas Friday 23rd September 

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