Friday, March 31, 2017

3+1 Short Paragraphs: The Girl with All the Gifts

2016, Colm McCarthy (TV including Peaky Blinders, Ripper Street) -- download

Zombie genre, all played out, some say. Screw em. Thanks to my cousin Tara, I found this incredible book that plays with the idea, once again, to show us we can be the real monsters. And from the book we get a rather decent, if somewhat rushed film adaptation. OK, it's not really the core truth of the book / story that makes it such a fun romp, but how it is executed, which is why the movie was well done, but not entirely successful.

I am going to SPOIL the shit out of this.

The story begins in a classroom, kids tied to chairs, a tired looking woman in casual military clothing teaching them. She is kind to them, and Melanie, more than all the other kids, just adores Miss Justineau (Gemma Arterton). But don't touch the kids, which military guy (Paddy Considine) shows exactly how dangerous it can be -- he wipes off the pheromone blocker and the nice little kid is instantly converted into a snapping, snarling hungry little fast-zombie. But Miss Justineau believes they are more than just that, and so does Dr. Caldwell (Glenn Close), which is why every so often, one of the kids disappears, to go under her scientist knife. Until things go terribly wrong.

Remember your zombie sub-genre kiddies, this is infected, more precisely with a fungus that makes them killing, eating machines. Taking a page from The Last of Us, the cordyceps fungus has jumped to humans, and turned us into murderous eating machines. Again, not dead, but no longer really human, the zombies quickly destroyed the world. Dr Caldwell wants to understand how they work and is close, when the lab falls. Thus the opening act (rushed in the movie) of experimentation turns into a PoAp road story.

The notes and beats of the original song are there, but they were played too fast, in my mind. If anything excelled it was Sennia Nanua as Melanie, who really conveys the intelligent child, very aware of what she is underneath. Melanie understands love can overrule the gnawing desire in her gut, but as she watches all the humans around her dispense with any sense of humanity, what example is she left with? And when eventually exposed to (fungal) evolutionary jumps, what side will she choose? Are the humans played out, or is she with her intertwined cordyceps and human mind, the next step in what the planet needs?