Zombies continue to be huge on television, with The Walking Dead and its spin-off show Fear the Walking Dead still chugging along, but movie screens lately have seen a shortage of zombie-related fare. With big studios mostly shying away from zombies (unless Brad Pitt is involved), indie filmmakers have been forced to take up the slack, leading to some intriguing smaller-scale zombie films.
The dystopian survival-horror film The Girl With All the Gifts would fall under the heading of an intriguing smaller-scale zombie effort. Based on a novel by Mike Carey, the film is set in a future where most of humanity has been turned into mindless flesh-eaters by a mysterious fungal outbreak. The movie tells the story of Melanie, a half-human/half-zombie whose unique traits capture the attention of a scientist and school teacher who rescue the girl from a zombie attack on their remote base, in the hopes that she can be the key to saving humanity.
We got a look at the poster and first trailer back in July, and now Entertainment Weekly shares the intense-looking new trailer for The Girl With All the Gifts. Sennia Nanua plays the title character, described as a "hybrid" who craves human flesh but retains the ability to think and feel, while Oscar-winner Glenn Close plays the scientist and Gemma Arterton plays the school teacher. Familiar face Paddy Considine is along for the ride as a soldier.
The idea of a young girl being a potential savior smacks of recent YA dystopian efforts like the Divergent series, while the overall tone of the trailer suggests something more along the lines of traditional zombie fare like World War Z. There's a hint of Day of the Dead as well in the laboratory setting, but it looks like the movie quickly moves outside that particular location and into the larger world, which looks a lot like The Walking Dead.
The biggest issue for filmmakers looking to tell a zombie story is finding a premise that adds something new and fresh but at the same time includes all the familiar genre elements. Zombieland is probably the best recent example of a movie that succeeded in walking this tightrope, and that film only worked because it injected self-aware humor and clever metaphors into the formula. Other smaller-scale zombie films, like 2015's Maggie, have tried to go the haunting, heart-felt route and come up somewhat short.
Reviews on The Girl With All the Gifts have been positive so far, and the movie did pretty well last year at the British Independent Film Awards, snagging nominations for stars Gemma Arterton and Sennia Nanua and for its visual effects. The movie can be seen on DirectTV on Jan. 26 before it heads to theaters and VOD for a limited run in the U.S., starting Feb. 24th.
Source: Entertainment Weekly