Movie Review GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, TheWarner Bros. Pictures
2016
R

“If I had a box of bad things, I’d put you in it and close the lid.”

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of the zombie movie genre, but are kind of experiencing burnout from the sheer glut of movies that feature the same old well-trodden plot that every modern zombie movie has done, ad nausium. But, you keep watching them, knowing that sometimes a real gem once in a while shines through all the other unremarkable chunks out there.

The Girl With All The Gifts was, back when it was making the fest rounds, getting a lot of buzz for being an innovative zombie movie that’s smarter than your average zombie flick. I had my doubts, but I was intrigued with the title of the movie itself, and what that meant in relation to the story itself. I finally got around to streaming the movie one weekend morning.

In a dystopian near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating “hungries”. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. The children go to school at an army base in rural Britain, where they’re subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell. School teacher Helen Justineau grows particularly close to an exceptional girl named Melanie, thus forming a special bond. But when the base is invaded, the trio escape with the assistance of Sgt. Eddie Parks and embark on a perilous journey of survival, during which Melanie must come to terms with who she is.

I’ll give credit where credit is due: The Girl With All The Gifts is a much better zombie movie than most that are clogging the streaming. If you’ll forgive my pedantism, this is technically not a zombie movie. The infection is caused by spores, and the infected never really die and then come back to life. Which means The Girl With All The Gifts has more in common with 28 Days Later than Night Of The Living Dead. But, that’s a pointless minor quibble.

The main image used for the movie itself is something of an effective attention grabber — a girl in one of those Hannibal Lecter masks. You’re not even aware that this is going to be a post-apocalyptic pseudo-zombie movie. Well, if you haven’t read the novel this is based on first. Anyway, The Girl With All The Gifts does a great job establishing the characters and fleshing out their dynamics. The plot itself unfolds and allows you to put the pieces together as to the situation. There were some incredibly tense moments (the military stronghold breech and the immediate aftermath, for example); I have to admit, that while the premise itself is intriguing, once the survivors are off the base, The Girl With All The Gifts settles into a standard post-apocalypse survival road trip. The ending is interesting, but not all that shocking.

Overall, The Girl With All The Gifts is a very good movie that gives a good spin to the genre wheel. It’s definitely worth a watch.

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