The Girl With All The Gifts is a zombie movie that breaks out the stereotypical zombie mold. The zombies in this film are not the undead, but humans taken over by a fungi. I know that sounds a little gimmicky but the movie does a great job at making it feel like a legitimate threat. The stars of the film, including our main character Melanie, are children. These children are the offspring of mothers with the zombie-disease, though they are a little different from their zombie parents. As the second generation with the disease, these children are able to somewhat control themselves and they still have a human personality. They have been gathered at a military base so that they can be studied. The military leaders look at them as regular zombies, treating them as monsters, and the only person that looks at them like children is their teacher, Miss Justineau. Melanie, the star pupil in zombie school in which the students are strapped to wheelchairs, might just be the cure—but not in the way that you might think.
Dr. Caldwell believes that by chopping up Melanie’s brain she can synthesize a cure to the disease. Before the doctor has a chance to do her chopping however, the base is overrun by a horde of first generation zombies and our characters are forced to flee. On the outside, Melanie becomes a part of the team, scouting ahead for safe ways for the others to navigate through a city filled with zombies.
What I liked about this film was the theme that kept coming up centering around the idea of Pandora’s Box. We have all heard of this tale from Greek Mythology, in which Pandora curiously opens a box that unleashes, among other things, death and hope. Having the school teacher tell the story of Pandora’s Box to the children, writer Mike Carey seems to be saying that the point of the story is about learning. When the group that fled from the fallen military base finds that the fungi has formed seedpods in the city, Melanie curiously opens them like the second coming of Pandora.
On one hand she has released death for the disease will now be airborne, but on the other she has also released hope. You see, we are lead to believe that Dr. Caldwell would have definitely found a cure with Melanie’s brain, but that isn’t true. The doctor has already tried coming up with the cure unsuccessfully with dozens of other children and Melanie is no different. There is no saving the human race. The hope that Melanie brings—she is the girl with all the gifts after all—is through the second generation of zombies. Miss Justineau makes it out alive in an airlocked mobile lab, from which she puts up a dry erase board and continues to teach the children for they must be prepared to inherit the earth. For these reasons I give The Girl With All The Gifts five out of five stars.