The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey was possibly my book of the year when it was released, meaning this movie adaptation had a LOT to live up to. One of the thrills of reading the book was the way the opening scenes first baffle and then reveal a wholly unexpected horror. The movie can’t quite capture that same suspense, purely due to the visual medium, but still – if you’ve neither read nor viewed (and if you have the choice, read first!), please think carefully about whether you want to read on rather than go in ‘blind’ and experience that almost-slow reveal!

[waits a couple of hours for movie to be watched]

Okay, back with me? So, what we have here is a zombie story unlike any zombie story I’ve read/watched before. Something has turned most of the Earth’s population into ‘hungries’, and pockets of humanity such as the military base we start off in, are struggling to survive whilst also experimenting on the monsters trying desperately to find a vaccine, a way to save themselves.

As we are slowly shown the true nature of Miss Justineau’s (Gemma Arterton) classroom in the military base, and begin to understand Dr Caldwell’s (Glenn Close) questions, we also begin to see just how exceptional Melanie (Sennia Nanua) really is – and how precarious her situation is, too.

When circumstances force the three, plus soldiers Sgt Parks (Paddy Considine) and Pvt Gallagher (Fisayo Akinade), to go searching for another pocket of humanity, survival becomes a very different kind of a story.

I thought this was a rather excellent adaptation, of a book I loved so much that the relief that they hadn’t mucked it up was super-high! Okay, there are some ‘issues’ around the fact that anyone reading Miss Justineau in the book would not have pictured the casting choice made, but actually the acting is very well done all round. Plus, there is a lovely lack of makeup on the cast – could this really be the first zombie apocalypse ever where mascara wasn’t a priority (or completely impermeable)?!

My sole disappointment in the movie is that there is one, very subtle, change to the ending. Obviously I won’t say what, but from something as small as tone of voice I think the entire slant cast on events is altered – and not for the better. Still, very well done otherwise, and if I didn’t like the alteration then at least it’s given me something to talk about – and makes it very easy to say, watch the movie AND read the book! 🙂

Released: 23rd September 2016
Viewed: 7th October 2016
Running time: 111 minutes
Rated: 15

My rating: 8/10

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