March 4, 2017

VOD Review: The Girl With All the Gifts (2017)

"A nice departure from the infected norm."
Based on the novel by Mike Carey (which was a pretty good read, by the way), The Girl With All the Gifts is an adaptation that ends up being better than most. That probably has to do with the fact that the screenplay was written by the book's author, which allowed for a certain level of care in the translation.

For those who have read the book, there are changes from book to screen, as there usually are, most notably certain deaths, and the omission of the "junkers" from the story. The ending "holy shit" ending stays faithful though.

Overall, fans of the book should be pleased with this adaptation.

The world has fallen victim to a nasty fungal virus that has left most of its population a mass of rabid zombies, affectionately called "Hungries." In a remote outpost populated by soldiers and scientists, humanity's only hope may lie in the hands of a teacher, Ms. Justineau, who is tasked with teaching a group of second generation "hungry" children who still retain much of their humanity despite their hunger for flesh. But teaching them what, that's the question.

These children are treated as prisoners, bound to their chairs and escorted to and from their cells by gunpoint. They even feed the poor kids meal worms, like they're savages! One of the children, Melanie, has struck a chord with Ms. Justineau. Melanie seems human enough, but Ms. Justineau can't be sure if her sweet and lovable act is genuine, or just a tricky ruse to get her to let her guard down, so that she can eat her face off.

When the outpost is overrun with Hungries, Ms. Justineau, Melanie, Dr. Caldwell (who wants to vivisect Melanie), and a group of soldiers are forced to flee into the wilds, hoping to survive long enough to find a place to synthesize a cure to the plague. Somewhere along the way, they all might just learn to love again, too.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a movie that took a more-than-tired sub-genre, and put a fresh spin on it, the results of which is a well-crafted story that was spun with plenty of care. Sure we've seen this story a hundred times before, but here, that story is smart, and it never reverts to the dreaded info dump or to too many overused tropes to get its point across.

The movie may be about a group of characters trying to survive a plague that turns people into infected "Hungries" that want to eat their face off, and of their mission to find a cure to the madness so that they can go on living, but that's about all that's familiar in this one. The place where the story ends up is pretty bold, and refreshing in a way.

The ending was bold a shocking, to say the least.

We also loved the way that the Hungries would stand around like they'd been paused, until they heard or smelled something edible come close. That made for a few intense scenes that mad us hold our breath.

Newcomer Sennia Nanua is the star of the show here, and she carries the movie admirably on her young shoulders. Considering that she's sharing the screen with top-notch actors like Glenn Close and Paddy Considine, that's saying something. She's all kinds of lovable as Melanie, to the point where you just want to reach through the screen and hug her, but at the same time she gave off a creepy aura of someone who could snap and rip a throat out at any minute. Nice job, kid.

And of course how can we not mention the beautiful Gemma Arterton, who is always a welcomed sight on screen.

We actually get an R-rated level of bloodshed in this one.

Not that kind of flick at all.

Infected children are our future. Teach them well, and let them lead the way.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a well-made spin on the infected zombie sub-genre, although I have to admit that for me, it left me wanting. I'm not sure what it left me wanting, more, I suppose, but that could just be me being picky. Maybe the ending threw me a bit. I don't know.

Overall though, this is a very solid flick that you'd do well to check out.


The Girl With All the Gifts is available now on VOD, with a Blu-ray/DVD release to follow on April 25th.

Gemma Arterton has some gifts of her own. Oh yes, she's got some gifts.


  1. Great review. I thought the film had potential, but alas failed to deliver, and when it ended I was surprised, as I felt it had only really just begun... But that takes nothing away from your review... :)

  2. I didn't read your review because I wanted to watch this movie without any bits to be spoiled. So I was surprised to learn that this was a zombie movie. I think you are right with your statement that it left you wanting. It did the same to me. There could have been more hurt. Mentally and physically.

    The ending was not the old same lame excuse for a sequel as usual but it needs more to shock me.

    It always amaze me that american movies tend to focus on the american point of view. I haven't read the book and don't see me picking it up but I can't imagine that all the other countries would sit idle by and weren't busy to create a vaccine. Either for curing their own people or as a means to make serious money.