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The Girl With All The Gifts
by Colm McCarthy

Based on the book with the same name, The Girl With All The Gifts is a film about a fungal infection that has torn down civilization and focuses on one of the remaining human bases as they scurry to find a cure. I’m not too excited about “self-aware” zombie fiction in general, but this story executes on this concept well and the film made for an entertaining use of my time.

On a military base in England, children are held prisoner and it’s soon revealed that the innocent darlings are about as far from human as it gets. A few shots here and there show that the adult zombies are piled at the perimeter, desperate to get in and feast on the humans inside. The “children” are kept there in hopes that they’ll lead to a cure, and our main character, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), seems to be the most special of them all. One of the teachers at the base, Miss Justineau (Gemma Arterton), has grown quite fond of Melanie, truly believing she isn’t like the other infected children, and when the base is finally overrun, the bond the two have formed proves to be lifesaving.

The remaining humans from the base embark on a journey of survival and the lone scientist (Glenn Close) will stop at nothing in order to continue her efforts to save humanity, and sacrificing Melanie is the only way to create that cure.

I liked this film for several reasons, but the main reason was that Melanie was such a likeable character who was neither “good” nor “bad.” Sure, she’s this adorable kid with a stellar personality, but at her core, she’s an infected with a slipping grip on her hunger for human flesh and blood. By the end of the film, you realize that the infected children have a strong sense of self-preservation, and while Melanie is aware of this, she’s also still aware of that strong bond with Miss Justineau.

I can’t say that there wasn’t anything I disliked though. The similarities between this and the video game The Last Of Us were blatant and I kept thinking of the game nearly the entire time that I watched the film. While the story of Melanie is just different enough, the base plots tend to cross over at times and it was more annoying than anything else.

This zombie film is miles different than the other zombie film I reviewed for this round of reviews, but they each bring something unique and satisfying to the table. I would recommend The Girl With All The Gifts if you’re looking for a heart-felt thriller with an intriguing storyline and some entertaining kill scenes.

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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