I’ve read enough zombie fiction to move on to something new, but every once in a while a real gem comes along that sucks me back into my beloved apocalyptic fiction genre. Case in point was M.R. Carey’s novel GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS. I finally had the chance to check out the film adaptation, which I liked even better.
The story focuses on Melanie, a young girl living in a special school at a military base. She’s intelligent, inquisitive and loves her teacher Miss Justineau. Slowly, we come to learn that the base is under siege by zombies after a zombie pandemic causes the collapse of the world and her country, the UK. She and her fellow students are being studied because they have retained their ability to think, reason and communicate, calling into question what makes them human. Making them perfect fodder for experiments to determine how they resisted the fungus, which may lead to a vaccine.
I really liked the adaptation, which stayed true to the book while streamlining its sometimes chunky exposition. The cast, which included Glenn Close, delivered excellent performances. There’s plenty of tension, post-apocalyptic scenery and action to please hardcore zombie fans. The book and film transcends genre, however, by staying focused on interesting characters, the question of whether Melanie is human or monster, and the ultimate decision she must make in regards to the future of the human race. The film is beautifully atmospheric, with great cinematography and score.
Recommended for zombie fans and everybody else.