The Girl with All the Gifts is a 2016 post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror film directed by Colm McCarthy. An adaptation of Mike Carey’s novel of the same name. Warner Bros. Pictures distributed the film.
A parasitic fungus plagues the world, turning most humans into hungries—zombies. However, a new generation of children seems to have a symbiotic relationship with the fungus. Melanie (Sennia Nanua from Frankie) is one of these children, the girl with all the gifts.
What I Like
Young Sennia Nanua captures an unnatural yet adorable child-creature that deserves respect even within a great cast. With Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, and Glenn Close, the young actress no doubt works hard to stand out and it shows.
While taking the monster’s perspective isn’t revolutionary, I still enjoy how empathetic the film addresses this new hybrid species. Overall, worldbuilding allows us to understand the human and hybrid plight well beyond otherization.
I hesitate to call the film unpredictable or subversive, but it pleasantly surprised me by the end.
What I Dislike
I don’t exactly see the reason why Melanie is so exceptional. Melanie is not a Mary Sue by any standard, but what makes her unique among her kind is never shared. We know she is exceptional, as we are shown it time and time again, well beyond a protagonist of happenstance. Perhaps the novel better explains this unclear mystery?
Making children intimidating is no easy task, but I must admit none frightened me. I think there was some light CGI to give the children an off-putting and unnatural look in their primal state, but it didn’t sway me.
The Girl with All the Gifts is certainly worth your time. While I wish I better understood what made Melanie exceptional among her kind, it does not break my immersion. Instead, I invest in Melanie’s struggle. This movie won’t hit you with jump scares, intentionally dulling down scenes that might have had them. Instead, The Girl with all the Gifts lingers in its horrific implications.
(4 / 5)