*Originally written July 28th, 2017*
"The Last of Us"
The zombie genre has been one running on fatigue for quite a while now (Mostly thanks to the success of the insanely overrated The Walking Dead), but The Girl with All the Gifts is some fresh life into a genre in desperate needs of freshness. Tonally they could not be more far apart, but I'd go as far as saying Gifts is the best zombie film since Shaun of the Dead.
Despite being based on a book written long before it, there are many clear similarities between Gifts and The Last of Us. It really helps that Gifts retains a small budget, so it doesn't fall into the recent zombie pitfalls of being a mindless action film (World War Z for example). It's a film that focuses on character first, with zombie violence and action second.
It's not an action heavy film, but there are some disturbing scenes of brutality and morality choices. The idea of making the zombie children still children, but will become vicious and animalistic is an interesting take on things. The first act sees the zombie children being put in some sort of prison/school as they're experimented on in order to find a cure before things go to shit and the characters are forced on a road trip.
I loved the different stages of infection you see from the adult zombies. This virus takes the form of a fungal infection, again, like The Last of Us. I know people are divided on running zombies, so if that offends you for whatever stupid reason, you might not like this. The idea of the fungal infection makes way for a really dark and almost fairy tale like ending.
Visually, the film is gorgeous. England is an fuck ugly place, so it was funny to see that it looks so much nicer when nature takes over and wild lands have spread into the murky grey streets of the city. It also amuses me to see places I see every day like 'M & S' become abandoned and desolate. There's also a shot towards the end involving fire that is BEAUTIFUL, I won't say any more than that.
The score wonderfully complements the bleak and apocalyptic tone. I can't even describe the score because it's unlike anything I've ever heard, but Cristobal Tapia de Veer (Who also composed the score for the insanely underrated and sadly cancelled Channel 4 show 'Utopia') did a great job here, making for some unforgettable and unique music.
I don't feel like I've mentioned any of the performances, but everyone is great. They're not quite on the level of Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us, but damn, Gemma Arteton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close and newcomer Sennia Nanua all do a wonderful job at bringing life to characters we care about by the end.
It's quite upsetting to me that a film like this went so under the radar despite its positive reviews, but original films like this need to be supported. The Girl with All the Gifts is a smarter, smaller and more focused zombie film and one of the most underappreciated films of 2016. See it.
The Girl with All the Gifts is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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