Film Review – The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Title – The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Director – Colm McCarthy (Outcast)

Cast – Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close

Plot – In a future Britain were the population has been overrun by a zombie like infestation, teacher Helen (Arterton), soldier Eddie (Considine) and scientist Caroline (Close) must work together to protect young girl Melanie (Nanua), who may just hold the key to mankind’s survival.

“They just want to live. Everybody wants that”

Review by Eddie on 18/10/2017

Just when you think the zombie film has exhausted itself from all possible incarnations and wild ideas, along comes a film like The Girl with All the Gifts.

Based on Mike Carey’s best-selling book of the same name, Gift’s really is a zombie film with a difference as we’re introduced to Sennia Nanua’s Melanie, a young girl in a mysterious facility, strapped daily to her wheelchair and delivered to a classroom full of other similar students.

As directed by usual TV director Colm McCarthy, we’re not initially sure of exactly what is happening or why people are acting as they are but quickly we become aware that these seemingly innocent children harbor a far deeper and dangerous inward inclination that turns them into flesh hungry zombie like attackers at the slightest smell of bare flesh, human touch or sight of human blood.

It’s an exciting and unnerving start to proceedings that is only heightened by an impressive sequence in which a ruthless swarm of blood-thirsty zombies overrun the secure facility where Melanie is kept, but from the films initially gripping start, McCarthy’s film starts to quickly taper away into a rather pedestrian and uninteresting experience.

You get a sense that Gifts was unable to do the most with a budget that was probably stretched to maximum and the scope of the film suffers because of this as the stories group led by Paddy Considine’s soldier Eddie Parks, Gemma Arterton’s caring teacher Helen Justineau, Glenn Close’s determined scientist Caroline Caldwell and Nanua’s feisty and smart beyond her years Melanie bunker down in an abandoned hospital in London while trying to figure out a way to get to safety.

The actors all do try their hardest, Considine is on song as you would expect while newcomer Nanua has some brilliant moments as young Melanie, while the films score by Cristobal Tapia de Veer is moody and atmospheric but the dwindling tension and interest levels of the film that’s hampered by Glenn Close’s over the top turn as Dr. Caldwell all combine to an end product that at times works to a high level but often finds itself no better than many of its other so-so zombie compatriots.

Final Say –

Brutal and unrelenting in its depiction of a zombie infested England and featuring a noteworthy turn by the young Nanua, The Girl with All the Gifts starts with a bang but ends with a whimper and while this is a zombie film with a different touch, it’s not enough to make McCarthy’s film anything more than a watchable diversion.

2 ½ tubes of gel out of 5  

9 responses to “Film Review – The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

  1. Interesting take. I would have given it higher, however. It played more like a syfy original (love syfy) and seemed cut short. I did watch it 3x. The idea that the childeren were the new species was a good edge. It was also amazing to see the young Sennia as a main character. I would have liked to see more on why/how she was so intelligent. I wouldn’t wish for a sequal but I would’ve liked a longer, more indepth view of each character. The book was an easy read. Maybe too easy. Thanks!

  2. I recently bought this one, but have not yet seen it. I usually love zombie movies, even mediocre ones, but with this cast I just could not resist. Pretty surprised to read that Glen Close is acting over the top. She is usually pretty good. Oh well, will still watch it, but just lower my expectations somewhat. As always : great review 😀

  3. This is an excellent low-budget British film which has more depth of character your well-written review gives it. Can be seen as a subtle critique of child foster care / social services with some very tense horror moments. Arterton’s character really loves the children and holds out hope for them and this drives the story. It asks the perennial question, like similar films of the genre: who are the real monsters? So, definitely worth another star on top I’d say.

  4. Interesting. Had you read the book first? It was a near pitch-perfect adaptation, I thought – bar one line delivered in a different tone at the end, changing the whole meaning!

    • I haven’t read the book but heard good things! I loved parts of this film but found the movie dwindled as time went on and really didn’t enjoy the last 20 – 30 minutes.
      E

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