See The Upside Of A Zombie Apocalypse In The Girl With All The Gifts

Screenwriter and novelist Mike Carey believes that children are the future… well-mannered, scholastically minded, brain-eating children to be precise. Carey is the (thus far intact) brain behind The Girl with All the Gifts, a new zombie apocalypse flick from director Colm McCarthy (Doctor Who, Sherlock).

In the relatively near future, normal, healthy humans are losing the war against a fungus that turns its hosts into flesh-eating zombies. Nicknamed ‘Hungries’, the hosts have harboured the fungus long enough to produce a second generation—kids who are different from their mindless, zombified parents. Unlike their elders, they can think, feel, learn, and accommodate the fungus without allowing it to rot and disfigure their bodies… too bad about that lingering, hard-to-control craving for human flesh. The military protects the last of the uninfected population, including a scientist (Glenn Close) who sees these junior Hungries as the key to an experimental vaccine, and a teacher (Gemma Arterton) who takes a less clinical approach.

When the last remaining sliver of all hell finally breaks loose, scientist, teacher, a handful of army personnel, and one polite baby Hungry (Sennia Nanua) are forced to leave the relative safety of their military fortress for parts less undead. As they move through ruined landscapes, a debate over whether the fungus is apocalyptic or evolutionary takes shape. At its centre is the young girl.

Gifts is definitely not just another teen dystopian film. Nor is it a straight-up zombie movie. It borrows elements from both genres to present a truly original story. The first scenes depicting the near-future world created by McCarthy hook you instantly, and Arterton, Nanua, and Paddy Considine (as Sgt. Eddie Parks) all turn in strong performances. While the movie makes some missteps as it trips towards a resolution, the unforeseen turn it takes in the end is more than worth hanging in for. Plus: when is it ever not fun to watch Glenn Close play the bad guy?

After making a big, bloody splash at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, The Girl with All the Gifts gets a limited theatrical and On Demand release this Friday, February 24. Watch the trailer below: