The Girl With All The Gifts
Review by Anthony Cleveland
I love those moments in where genre fatigue comes in and I throw up my arms and say I quit. I've done this with loads of genres I've grown up with. Sometimes I stay away for years...then a film comes along to remind me why I fell in love with the genre to begin with.
Zombie fatigue has worn me thin. There's just something that twists inside me the wrong way when I heard soccer moms talk about the latest zombie kill on The Walking Dead. While I would like to welcome these new fans because it means new zombie films. But, unfortunately Hollywood took the fad the wrong way and has churned out cookie cutter blockbuster after blockbuster that don't stay true to the staples holding the rotting flesh of the genre together.
A good zombie film needs to consist of a few core elements: gore (you can make one without, absolutely, but having this grounds your film and reminds the audience they're just meat for these creatures), tension (There's too many! They're catching up! They're closing in! We're trapped!), and, lastly, they have to make you think. The only conversation I hear from many zombie fans is "what would I do?" Thats great, but I like zombie films that make me ask why or even reflect situations going on in the world right now.
The Girl With All The Gifts hits on every one of these. If you want gore, sure its there. Back-to-the-wall tension courses throughout the film. I just saw this film a day ago, and my mind is still reeling from the ending... *Be warned, there are vague spoilers below.*
The ending takes a look at the sacrificial hero role, the Christ-I-Died-For-You aspect. In this film the savior grows up in an apocalyptic world where humanity is on the brink and must be vicious and vile to survive. When given the choice to die to save them, she turns her back on us all and only saves the one thing she believes is good in this world.
Another huge draw for me was making a young girl the protagonist. It adds so much heart to this film as she struggles to figure out her place and why the world is the way it is. Its also different to feel very little worry for this young character. She's a hybrid born from a mother infected with a fungus pathogen that turns the offspring into zombies. She's able to speak and feel like a normal kid, but she also has the hunger... Because she's a hybrid, the "hungries" don't want to tear her apart. Despite this, the dread from this film comes from the fear she will kill one of her companions. Each one goes from loathing her and fearing her, to bonding with her and showing her compassion.
I loved this film for bringing so many new conventions to this rotting genre. This is by far the best zombie film since 28 Days Later. Now, the question is: will this bring us more zombie films with just as much guts on the screen as brains on thescreenplay?
Rating: 3.5 flesh-eating children out of 5.
What did you think? Did the film have guts both on screen and paper? What didn't work for you, if anything? Share your thoughts and feelings with us in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!