[Victoria Film Festival 2017] Beware the Girl With All The Gifts & What That Brings …

10 Feb

mv5bmjq0nza4ndcxm15bml5banbnxkftztgwmtk1njuzote-_v1_uy1200_cr9206301200_al_Plays Feb 10, 9pm
Cineplex Silvercity Tillicum
Victoria, BC

Please check local film festival listings for a screening near you.

* Spoiler Alert

In the movie The Girl With All The Gifts (GWatG), Professor Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) and Doctor Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close) represents opposite sides of a belief in how to deal with a fungal outbreak turning humanity into mindless creatures. They are the walking dead and they are not the traditional kind of zombie Voodoo practitioners would expect. When they are born as children, they seem normal, but as they age, their behaviour and cognitive ability changes. These two academics have to interact with them in order to find a solution to save the world.

Instead, they are at odds with one another. It’s a battle of philosophies between the educator taking on one approach and the doctor who simply wants to cut them up. This film is a nail-biting look which looks at the inevitable. The big question is whether or not these children are indeed children.

Most of the story is seen through the eyes of Melanie (excellently played by newcomer Sennia Nanua). She has a benign charm that wins Justineau’s affection, and she is the most intelligent of the group locked up in a concentration camp to study. I cannot help but be reminded of the Star Trek episode, “Miri,” where the concept has an uncanny similarity. When the children enter puberty, they go feral and will eventually die. When the children age in GWATG, the beasts they become are neither full zombie nor human.

Apparently, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is at work in this piece and I enjoyed how the science is explained without getting into the gore typical for this genre which movie-goers like to see. If these creatures do not get dealt with accordingly, the infection will spread all over the world. In this film, most of the United Kingdom is a wasteland and very little is said about the state of the other nations around the world. It’s assumed what’s left of humanity are isolated in old bunkers from the post-World War II days, when fear of a nuclear war breaking out again was high.

Zombie movies do not have to follow the tropes typical for the genre. Stand out films in this art-house style includes 28 Days Later. Some species do not have to be fully eradicated either. Perhaps it should be embraced, much like Shaun of the Dead. As for what’s next, I doubt author M.R. Carey’s adaptation of his own work to cinema will pen a sequel. He did have an idea which almost became part of the novel, and thankfully it was scrapped before publication by Orbit Books (click with caution). The best type of horror movies lay in how isolation comes into play, and this film’s finale is a doozy.

4½ Stars out of 5

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