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Refreshingly, The Girl with All the Gifts assumes audiences know the basics of a zombie-apocalypse tale (because we do), so we’re thrown into the tumult in media res.

Aimee Spinks/Courtesy of Elevation.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
The Girl with All the Gifts
Written by
Mike Carey
Directed by
Colm McCarthy
Starring
Sennia Nanua, Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

It is no easy feat making an original zombie movie these days. It's all been done before – often better and gorier via the realm of basic cable. But somehow, director Colm McCarthy and screenwriter Mike Carey (who adapts his own novel here) found a new approach with this thrilling addition to the brain-drained genre.

Refreshingly, the film assumes audiences know the basics of a zombie-apocalypse tale (because we do), so we're thrown into the tumult in media res: The world is falling to pieces, flesh eaters are banging down the doors, there's little hope left etc.

The twist comes along in the title character, a quasi-undead girl (Sennia Nanua) who might hold the key to a vaccine. She just has to deal with the military roughneck who thinks she's a threat (Paddy Considine), the doctor who wants to open her up ASAP (a steely Glenn Close) and the sympathetic teacher who thinks she's more human than monster (Gemma Arterton).

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The resulting tale is a wicked, gory and even occasionally funny take on George A. Romero. A few days later, and that cat joke still elicits a chuckle. (Warning to cat lovers: Maybe avoid this one.)

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