Set in a near dystopian future where an infection has ravaged the population turning them into zombies, an innocent, young girl must be protected at all costs as she may be the key to the remaining humans’ survival. The Girl with All the Gifts is a refreshing zombie drama in a genre which often lacks originality.
Performing as the character the title alludes to, Sennia Nanua is a revelation. Nanua’s utilisation of the mysterious background of main character, Melanie, is captivating to a extent where her performance simultaneously makes you want to root for Melanie and, equally, be weary of becoming too attached. It’s a breakout role akin to Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds.
Elsewhere in the slim cast, Gemma Arterton, Fisayo Akinade and Paddy Considine deliver their roles perfectly natural. Nothing extraordinary but that may be more related to the script, understandably, ensuring Melanie is the centre of attention at all times. Rounding out the numbers is Glenn Close as Doctor Caldwell, who has committed her life to discovering the cure for the zombie infection. Although the character motivations are set out early on, I often felt Glenn Close acted out the role too overtly, when a more restrained performance would have probably served the overall movie better.
Unlike other novel adaptations, the screenplay for The Girl with All the Gifts was actually written in tandem with the novel. Where this falls down is the final third of the movie which feels out of the sort with the tense first and second act. Perhaps time to step back to assess how the ending would look and feel on the big screen would have resulted in a stronger movie ending.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a human drama dropped in the middle of a heart skipping zombie flick, the best zombie movies always are. Mixing a fantastic lead depiction, great set design with a few stumbling blocks results in a movie which most definitely deserves a viewing.