Ah yes, the very familiar zombie horror genre. I assumed I’d seen all the variations of zombie apocalypse movies, but this one offers a fresh take.
The Girl with all the Gifts is set in a dystopian future where a flesh eating fungus has consumed the minds and bodies of most of the human world.
The movie starts with the day-to-day of children living in what seems to be some sort of military prison. They’re locked in cells every evening and taken out (at gunpoint) in restraints every morning. Hard core.
The film asks a new question about zombies: What would happen to pregnant women infected with the virus? Their children would be born with the second generation of it in their system.
In this generation, the fungus has evolved.
The children of these zombie Moms remain completely “normal” in nearly all ways. They think for themselves. They have personalities. They learn. The fungus hasn’t turned them into mindless killing machines. Their desire for human flesh can still overtake them, though.
When the children smell human scent, they instinctively start growling and trying to attack. It’s nearly impossible for them to control, which is why they are restrained. The staff of this military prison/research facility also wear a special skin lotion to help make their scent “invisible” and keep the children’s’ fungus from acting up.
It’s because of these magnificent fungus evolutions that Dr. Caroline Caldwell feels justified in experimenting on these children. She believes she is close to finding the cure that will save humanity, but she needs to get inside the children’s minds to do it.
Dr. Caldwell is played by Glenn Close, who — if you’ve ever seen her play Cruella DeVille you’ll agree – makes a superb villain.
One of these children – Melanie – stands out. She is highly intelligent–— both mentally and emotionally. She is the girl with all the gifts. Melanie has a particularly close relationship with her teacher, and when zombies overrun the prison, she teams up with her to get out safely.
The rest of the movie involves Melanie using her zombie skills to help a ragtag crew of leftover humans safely navigate the zombie-filled streets.
There are a few plot weaknesses in this movie, for example, the military base being so poorly guarded. I mean, come on people! There are like, 36,000 zombies outside your gates and you’re using chicken wire as the barrier?! Seriously???
But aside from tiny issues like that, this movie remains a unique zombie suspense film with a surprising end. It’s worth the watch!