Fungus among us: A Girl With All The Gifts review.

Directed by: Colm McCarthy

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Sennia Nanua

We’ve pretty much seen every iteration of the zombie genre brought to the big screen now so it is increasingly harder for one to come along and stand out from the decaying masses by trying something different, The Girl With All The Gifts is one of those films.

Based on the novel of the same name by the fantastic comic book writer Mike Carey of Lucifer & Hellblazer fame to name but a few, it tells the story of a UK in a not too distant future that has succumb to a airborne fungal pathogen that once it latches onto a human host turns them into a snarling, cannibalistic monster. In this dystopia, an assembled group of military personnel & scientists work to come up with a vaccine, the key to which may lie with a very special young girl.

The cast are superb, Glenn Close & Paddy Considine are their usual fantastic selves and bring an air of class to the proceedings, Gemma Arterton carries a character that doesn’t feel all that fleshed out well all things considered. The real star however is newcomer Sennia Nanua who brings a sense of both gleeful wonder & underlying menace much greater than her years to the titular girl Melanie, it’s a critical cliche but she is certainly one to watch in the future.

The film feels like a shot in the arm to a genre that can feel very by the numbers if the writing isn’t up to par, luckily there is a crazy talented man behind the pen on this one, granted there are certainly some influences on display, the running zombies of 28 days later, the fungal infected are also almost certainly a tip of the hat to PlayStation game The Last Of Us, also in it’s stylistic approach of a UK that has been reclaimed by nature much like the America of the aforementioned game, even touching on Greek mythology in the story of Pandora which holds parallels with this tale. These are only influences, it doesn’t feel facsimile, this is very much it’s own beast and is very well handled in the hands of director Colm McCarthy.

I would recommend The Girl With All The Gifts to anyone who fancies seeing an intelligent take on a genre that is felt to be mined of all originality, it will disturb, creep you out and make you think in equal measure, all traits that are much needed in modern horror.

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