The Girl with All the Gifts (2017)

The Girl with All the Gifts

Taglines: Our greatest threat is our only hope.

In a dystopian near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating ‘hungries’. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel.

The children go to school at an army base in rural Britain, where they’re subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close). School teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) grows particularly close to an exceptional girl named Melanie (Sennia Nanua), thus forming a special bond. But when the base is invaded, the trio escape with the assistance of Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) and embark on a perilous journey of survival, during which Melanie must come to terms with who she is.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a 2016 British post-apocalyptic zombie horror drama film directed by Colm McCarthy and written by M.R. Carey adapted from his novel of the same name. Starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, and Sennia Nanua, the plot depicts a dystopian future following a breakdown of society after most of humanity is wiped out by a fungal infection and focuses upon the struggle of a scientist, a teacher and two soldiers who embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

The Girl with All the Gifts

About the Story

In the near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into fast, flesh-eating zombies referred to as ‘hungries’. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid, second generation children who crave living flesh but retain the ability to think and learn. The children go to “school” at an army base in the Home Counties, where they are subjected to experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell.

The children are treated as prisoners, but humanized by Helen to the dismay of Sgt. Eddie Parks, although they are all restrained in cells, wheelchairs, and under constant armed guard. Helen Justineau is responsible for educating and studying the children. Helen treats the children fairly and kindly, growing particularly close to a polite, exceptional girl named Melanie, who is shown to have a high level IQ and the two form a special bond. Helen tells a story at the pleading of Melanie about the myth of Pandora’s Box.

After Melanie reads a story she has written about a young girl saving a woman from a monster and the pair staying together forever (clearly drawing a parallel from her own feelings for Miss Justineau), Helen is overcome with emotion and affectionately strokes the girl’s head. Sgt. Parks bursts in and severely rebukes Helen; he spits on his arm, rubbing off the masking gel and holds it under the nose of one of the children, evoking a violent, animalistic response from the child that spreads to the others, apart from Melanie who alone struggles to restrain herself, retaining her humanity to impress Helen.

The Girl with All the Gifts

Dr Caldwell is revealed to be researching an antidote by experimenting on the children. Caldwell gives Melanie riddles and puzzles, which her high IQ allows her to solve with her exceptional logic and reasoning. One day Caldwell asks Melanie for a number between one and twenty – Melanie chooses thirteen, and the child in cell thirteen is then absent the following day.

The next time Caldwell asks Melanie for a number, she is surprised when Melanie chooses her own cell number (four). Caldwell reluctantly takes her to her lab, whereupon Melanie sees a preserved brain belonging to child thirteen. As she is strapped to a table, Helen rushes into the lab and tries to intervene to save her as it is revealed that Dr Caldwell intends to remove Melanie’s brain and spinal column to develop a possible vaccine. Helen is tricked then easily disarmed but the base has been overrun as the fences gave way and the lab is breached before Caldwell can proceed. Melanie escapes the lab but outside the hungries are everywhere and soldiers are being swarmed and violently attacked in a failing, chaotic mass breach.

The Girl with All the Gifts Movie Poster

The Girl with All the Gifts (2017)

Directed by: Colm McCarthy
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Dominique Tipper, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Sennia Nanua, Anamaria Marinca, Lobna Futers, Stacey Lynn Crowe, Fisayo Akinade
Screenplay by: Mike Carey
Production Design by: Kristian Milsted
Cinematography by: Simon Dennis
Film Editing by: Matthew Cannings
Costume Design by: Liza Bracey
Art Direction by: Philip Barber
Music by: Cristobal Tapia de Veer
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violence / bloody images, and for language.
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures (UK), Saban Films (United States)
Release Date: February 24, 2017