For Reel


The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
July 17, 2017, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Colm McCarthy
3 Stars
The Girl With All the Gifts.jpgAttempting to put a “spin” on the post-apocalyptic outbreak genre seems like a futile task. If The Girl with All the Gifts doesn’t attempt to reinvent the genre, then, it does bring it some life by going backwards—more than this is inspired by any zombie movie of the past few decades, it reads as a direct homage to writer Richard Matheson. On those terms, it has its pleasures in the way it concerns itself with evolution and nature. Here, nature is not something harmonious, but rather horrifying—the disease spreading through the world is literally a fungus, and man’s ultimate fate is left to the spread of a plantlife that seeks only to reproduce. But, what keeps the film from dwelling in the misery that plagues many efforts within the genre is the genuine sense of love and hope that defines the characters of Melanie (Sennia Nanua) and Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton), who both recognize that man hasn’t been defeated, but rather must adapt. This adaptation is more-or-less faithful to the novel, and director Colm McCarthy deals quite well with the exterior scenes—in the film’s tensest setpiece, the protagonists must wind their way through streets that are occupied by hundreds of paralytic zombies who risk awakening at any moment. The way McCarthy uses the scale of the labyrinthine streets and towering buildings is just as frightening as the creatures themselves, making the players seem like small pawns in a world they simply will never understand again.

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