Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)


Why is it that when I get bored, I hunt up movies on my Roku 3 that seem to be zombie- or infected- or contagion-related? It just happened again. I found one.

Set in a dystopian future, The Girl with All the Gifts opens in an army penitentiary at Beacon, England, where a couple of dozen children are imprisoned.

Dressed in orange hoody jump suits, the adolescents are transported every morning from their cells to class in special restraining wheelchairs.

The military complex is protected by a heavy link fence, strong, but apparently not strong enough to hold back a massive army of "hungries," fungus-infected humans, who overrun the compound.

One especially intelligent child named Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is rescued by her teacher, Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton), from Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close), who wants to use Melanie's brain to manufacture a cure for the fungus that has ravaged the world. 

They and a small group of soldiers, led by Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine), seek an emergency mobile laboratory, their movement among the hungries masked by a blocking gel that hides their human scent.

It works, but there is a problem. Remember the kids in the penitentiary? They smelled the gel every day and know it means normal humans (food) are nearby.

Even Melanie smells the humans and becomes ravenous. So they have THAT to deal with as well. She's hungry and antsy, catches and eats a pigeon, and calms down. She gets hungry again, catches and eats a—well, you get the idea. And yet, she is a savior in more ways than one.

This is not a zombie film, by the way. Zombies are slow and plodding. “Infecteds” are alert and fast. Remember 2013's unsettling World War Z (Brad Pitt)?

Based on M.R. Carey's Edgar-winning 2014 short story, The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the more-intelligent "infected" movies I've seen ... and I've seen a lot. It joins a list that includes three based on Richard Mathewson's iconic 1954 sci-fi novel—1964's The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price), the 1971 remake, Omega Man (Charlton Heston), and the 2007 reboot, I Am Legend (Will Smith).

It's an entirely plausible movie with an uplifting (if unnerving) finale.

Memorable quotation: "The (pregnant) mothers were probably all infected at once, in a single incident. Then the embryos they were carrying took the infection as well. Through the placenta. They ate their way out."

Memorable scene: Melanie catches and eats ... a cat.

Book Adaptation, Drama, Apocalypse

1 comment:

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