Around these parts we are big fans of M.R. Carey’s novel The Girl With All The Gifts. He was even gracious enough to grant us an exclusive interview about the book. The novel’s prequel is due in May of this year and as I impatiently wait for it’s release, I was finally able to see the movie adaptation of the first book.
Although released in the UK last year, The Girl With All The Gifts is having a hard road making it to theatres on this side of the pond. Hitting some outlets now in late January, it will finally hit theatres and video on demand February 24th. Unfortunately, February is generally where movies go to die, and having the theatrical release coincide with the VOD release is no sign of confidence.
It deserves a better fate, but I can understand the difficulties with marketing the film, which I think has been it’s downfall. I can imagine that building an ad campaign around children restrained to wheelchairs and eventually covered in blood wearing a Hanibal Lecter mask can be a challenge.
On the surface, Gifts is a zombie movie. Complete with hordes of “undead” hunting and eating the living. But it is so much more than that. The zombies (or “hungries” as they are referred to) are more 28 Days Later than Walking Dead, and the movie very much has a 28 Days feel to it. The movie has it’s moments of infected on potential supper violence but the gore level is surprisingly minimal. The movie is rated R, but the amount of blood and guts pales in comparison to even the tamest episode of The Walking Dead.
I’m intentionally being very vague here to avoid spoilers, but if you have read the book, you will know just what to expect. It is a condensed but very faithful adaptation. Which mostly works, but has some issues as so much of the book takes place in the mind and thoughts of Melanie, the young girl at the centre of the story. There were a few instances were I felt that if I hadn’t read the source material I could see being slightly confused.
For a movie with a budget of $5 million dollars and a plethora of movie studio logos at the beginning that I’ve never heard of before, it is no worse for wear. The acting is solid, with Glenn Close being the most recognizable face as Dr. Caldwell. But fans of the book should have no issues with the casting of Gemma Arterton as Miss Justineau, Paddy Considine as Sgt Parks and newcomer Sennia Nanua as Melaine. The direction is good and while the effects are limited, they don’t look cheap. It also helps that Carey himself adapted the screenplay.
I think those that have read the book will enjoy it and get more out of it, but the film is a decent little drama/horror/thriller and there are much worse ways to spend 111 minutes.
I give The Girl With All The Gifts 7.5 out of 10 tubes of blocker gel.