The Girl With All The Gifts is an atmospheric thriller that engages its audience. The film appeals with its tone, even if the plot is too conventional at times.
Helen is a teacher to students that are bound to wheelchairs and locked in cells – for the safety of the teachers and stuff. She strikes up a rapport with Melanie, a bright young girl. When an incident occurs at the base, Helen and Melanie have to fight for survival…
Based on Mike Carey’s novel (who also writes the screenplay), The Girl With All The Gifts functions as a dystopian thriller. The film is cold and atmospheric rather than a searing horror. Nonetheless, they are very effective moments of tension throughout the film. These are used sparingly, so the film feels like a moderate creep rather than a roller coaster.
Helen is a good protagonist in that she is not as hardened as characters that surround her. The relationship between Melanie and Helen is sweetly portrayed. Their scenes are the most genuine interactions throughout director Colm McCarthy’s film. The pair face threat from within as well as external.
The horror is obvious, what works is the way the film builds up to this. There is a distinct mood to the film which is maintained throughout. As the film progresses, some of the ideas attached to the theme run out of steam. The film falls into familiar trappings in the second half. The brief moments of dark humour in The Girl With All The Gifts work well. The ending of the film is satisfying in its realism.
Gemma Arteton offers a decent performance as Helen. She has good chemistry with Sennia Nanua’s Melanie. Paddy Considine and Glenn Close are perfectly adequate in supoort roles which are not really fleshed out.
The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting watch, with some great ideas floating around. Although it keeps its strong tone, more could have been done with the narrative.