If the last decade hadn't brought us Naughty Dog's "The Last of Us," countless seasons of "The Walking Dead," and last year's zombie revival "Train to Busan," then TV director Colm McCarthy's "The Girl with All the Gifts" might feel like something innovative rather than what it does: a feature-length episode of "Black Mirror" with a bleak ending that could somehow be seen to argue for or against UK immigration.
When the Americans killed the zombie movie genre in the 1990s with their horrific lack of ideas, a British director singlehandedly resurrected it: the film was 28 Days Later, the director Danny Boyle. And when the Americans failed again and again with their uninspired deadly productions, another British director came to the rescue: kudos to Colm McCarthy for creating a modern classic. This is a minor masterpiece.
With 'Train To Busan' and 'The Girl With All The Gifts', the zombie sub-genre revelled in its ability to continually reinvent itself. A cinematic premise that continues to ignite idiosyncratic conceptualists to the fore.
Wow, this is a very singular dystopia to watch - McCarthy really shows some nuances of virus (fungus?) spread. The overall art direction is very good, making everything make sense. Now, I could have done it without the awful final scene (really?), but it's a refreshing zombie film for sure.
You knew you were in trouble when armed guards go into the cells pointing guns at the children. It's a bit giggle inducing. It's not like they have super strength, super speed or even fangs. They're still children. The film never gets past this unbelievability point. All of the scenes with the children were inadvertently funny. In the future the children will wear color coordinated clothes and be sub-verbal. Grrrr!
Quite amazing that new life can still be found in the zombie genre both here and in last year's 'Train to Busan'. McCarthy's film reimagines the zombie outbreak as a disease, a fungal contagion, and finds a second generation hybrid the human's hope for a cure. The hybrid, a young girl played to perfection by newcomer Sennia Nanua, has her own hopes however straddling humanity with her ravenous desires. Top notch.