• Guy Jeffries

The Girl With All The Gifts Review


Director: Colm McCarthy.

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nanua, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close.

TV director McCarthy gives us his adaptation of Mike Carey's highly acclaimed novel of the same name, that was published back in 2014 about a post-apocalyptic England infected by a savage fungus that turns people into zombie-like "hungries" and among the few survivors are children born with an immunity to the disease.

Though they appear to be of normal intelligence and have personality, they also share the hunger for living flesh, making them equally dangerous than the rest of the infected population. The children are imprisoned, restrained and studied in hope they can provide Dr. Chadwell (Close) with a cure.

We follow one girl in particular, 10-year-old Melaine, who is superbly played by Sennia Nanua. Her character has genius-level intelligence and a personality of a bright spark and a caring school child, being the favourite of behavioural psychologist/teacher Miss Helen Justineau (Arterton.)

Things go horribly wrong and the above mention end up on the run with what's little left of the military, namely the over-cautious Sgt. Parks, played by Paddy Considine. Melaine being the centre piece to each of their own individual causes, added internal conflict of matters of opinion and survival.

All give great performances, especially Nanua and Arterton, whose lack of makeup doesn't make her any less attractive. Considine is great and unfortunately I feel it's the six-time academy-award nominee Glenn Close that's the weak link. I was expecting so much more but she makes it feel like a small role, maybe not taking it seriously enough.

I can't comment of the adaptation whether it's like the book but I've read that it is very true to it's original source apart from Melaine and Helen's appearance, and I'm not surprised if that's the case as the author also wrote the screenplay for the film. I suppose it's the director's style that comes out more, being dark, bleak yet very green. McCarthy does amazing keeping the tension up on high throughout. The locations are amazing and very typically British with some good product placement to add to the realism.

It's has an interesting premise, different from most zombie movies and though not strictly a zombie movie, I doubt it'll escape the label. It's more in the same vein of World War Z and 28 Days Later. It's incredibly tense, gruesome and highly captivating. Especially with a haunting score from Cristobal Tapia De Veer, those choral hums creating an uneasy, eerie, cold atmosphere.

It's a great British spook-film and the story is original even with the "Zombie" label loosely attached. It's refreshingly unpredictable and certainly worth a watch on the big screen.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 7

Performance: 7

Direction: 9

Story: 9

Script: 7

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 9

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for Sennia Nanua.

79% 8/10

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