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Review: 'The Girl with All the Gifts' is a unique take on zombies

Posted Friday, April 21, 2017 at 4:38 PM Central
Last updated Friday, April 21, 2017 at 4:40 PM Central

by John Couture

You know what's weird? The fact that the notion of zombies have become so widespread that my young children know what they are and often play "zombies," a game that comes quite close to mimicking what you would see weekly on The Walking Dead.

And no, before you start blaming me, we don't let our children watch The Walking Dead or any other non-age-appropriate programming, but the reality is that we live in a world where the concept of a zombie permeates everything. For the record, they see zombies all the time on their cartoons and now that I think about it, I'm sure I was introduced to the concept on Scooby-Doo back in the day.

No, whether it's Frankenstein or Lazarus, the idea of bringing the dead back to life is one that goes back a very long time. Given that, it is perhaps surprising that writers are still able to inject new life into this tired genre, but yet here we are. Recently, films such as 28 Days Later and World War Z have reinvigorated the genre and inspired a new crop of writers.

Enter The Girl with All the Gifts. While the concepts might not be completely unique, there is enough fresh material that the film really challenges our expectations of what a zombie film can be. For one thing, did you ever think that Glenn Close would star in a zombie film?

Not only does she star in the film, but she instantly cements the film with a certain gravitas that many other films in this genre lack. This respectability is what drew me to this film, but it's the storytelling and the interesting questions that truly resonate with the viewer.

While many zombie films focus on the blood and guts, The Girl with All the Gifts spends its time developing the underlying reason behind the outbreak. This minutia makes you think that this could really happen some day. But don't worry, the film doesn't go light on the gore by any stretch. There's one sequence with a zombie baby that continues to give me the willies just thinking about it.

The real stars of the film though are Gemma Arterton and newcomer Sennia Nanua. I have recently become quite fond of Gemma's talents and this film allows her to showcase her range without sacrificing her commitment to the arts.

The young Sennia Nanua plays Melanie, the young key to a possible cure who is whip smart and perhaps a bit more naive than her counterpart in the novel upon which the film is based, but it works here in the film. She demonstrates that she is able to hold her own against her more experienced co-stars and proves that her best days are ahead of her.

With The Walking Dead having recently finished another season, fans of the series will be looking to fill this void in their lives. I humbly submit that they will enjoy The Girl with All the Gifts quite a bit. While the film does spend more time on the development of story than the TV series, there's still plenty of action and gore to satisfy their bloodlust.

The Girl with All the Gifts is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.