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Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

February 24, 2017

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

the-girl-with-all-the-giftsMelanie (Sennia Nanua) is a young girl who is kept locked up in a cell, being fed worms and strapped to a wheelchair so she can attend classes with her sympathetic teacher, Ms. Justineau (Gemma Arterton).

You see, human civilization has been all but destroyed by a zombie virus that turns people into cannibalistic “hungries,” and Melanie represents the next evolution of it, being kept alive so that she can be harvested by Dr. Caldwell (Glenn Close), a clinical scientist who plans to use her organs to create a cure.

But when their safe military compound comes under attack, Melanie goes on the run with Ms. Justineau, Dr. Caldwell and a tough Sergeant (Paddy Considine), and starts to figure out her true place in this evolving world.

Although this might sound like a contradiction, The Girl With All The Gifts is a zombie film that has humanistic overtones, with the central moral question being if it’s right for the highly autonomous Melanie to sacrifice her own life in order to create a cure that could potentially save others.  You can take from this what you will in terms of real world allegories to animal testing.  Newcomer Sennia Nanua carries the film with impressive maturity, making us feel sympathetic towards Melanie, even as her zombie impulses threaten to take over.

Moving at a quick pace, The Girl With All The Gifts has some expectedly gory zombie kills and pulse-pounding set-pieces, that are highlighted by haunting imagery in the climax.  Even if its impact is undercut slightly by a needless final scene, the film still has enough suspense and interesting ideas throughout to keep us watching.

The Girl With All The Gifts is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas in Toronto, and in other cities across Canada.

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