Why Is the Movie, The Girl with All the Gifts, an Apocalyptic Delight?

The 2016 horror film, The Girl with All the Gifts, is based on a novel of the same name by Mike Carey. Much like the source material, the movie seems to have been influenced by such established titles as 28 Days Later – especially in the CGI department – and the I Am Legend novel in which a human-zombie hybrid is the new dominant species on Earth. In many respects, it is a delight to watch for many reasons. So, read on for everything you need to know about this amazing apocalyptic movie.


The Girl with All the Gifts

Although the premise itself is farfetched, the world-building aspect is anything but. The idea of zombies taking over the world is unlikely, considering how resourceful humans are. Unless the transformation happens everywhere on the planet in an instant, zombies (if such a thing exists at all) will not prevail. The details in the movie, however, are believable. Even the standard aesthetic elements like costumes and set designs appear impeccably-crafted. It makes perfect sense that in a decimated world the costumes are worn and the buildings and walls have dirt all over them. In general, the world where the characters live feels genuine and is the new natural.

Titular Figure

The Girl with All the Gifts

Sennia Nanua portrays Melanie, the titular character in the film. In her first scenes in the film, she is depicted as a young girl living in an underground prison cell. Her situation becomes an immediate attention-grabber, and even more so when soldiers appear with automatic rifles. The soldiers, at gunpoint, strap her into a wheelchair. It gets more intriguing because Melanie comes across as a sweet innocent polite little girl despite the menacing presence of the military men. But apparently to the soldiers, the girl is a menace.

What Is Happening?

The Girl with All the Gifts

It’s good that the circumstances surrounding Melanie are explained early on. She and some other kids carry out their day-to-day activities in confinement. Everything is strictly routine because the children are practically inmates to be used as research subjects for the scientific experiments in a laboratory set up inside the building. They are taken into a room to receive instructions for the purposes of the study.

It turns out that Melanie and other kids are second-generation human-zombie hybrid; they were born from infected mothers. In the event one of the kids cannot hold the hunger for blood, the soldiers are there to neutralize the threat. Since the kids are able to retain human traits, including the ability to learn and think, they may provide an answer to the global-scale zombie virus pandemic.

Early Good Stuff

The Girl with All the Gifts

Keeping the good stuff for last is not always the right approach to filmmaking; viewers want to feel the excitement, mystery, and thought-provoking scenes from the beginning. The Girl with All the Gifts delivers the appeals quickly before things get better. Melanie likes her teacher, Ms. Justineau, and they develop a close bond – closer than with any other inmates. Be that as it may, a visit to Melanie’s prison cell is unlikely because there is always a possibility that she might devour her teacher. 


Inside the realistic-looking set designs live many characters who also look authentic. Dr. Caroline Caldwell, the leading researcher in the experiments, is portrayed by Glenn Close. Instead of going with the archetypical B-movie person-in-charge characterization, she plays the role straight to amplify the believability of the fictional world. Gemma Arterton delivers a good blend of warmth and authority like a caring elementary school teacher, whereas Paddy Clonidine as the head of security conveys a natural no-nonsense mannerism spot on.

Even when surrounded by the more experienced names in the industry, Sennia Nanua is able to shine as the lead performer. Her portrayal of Melanie is unambiguous to say the least. Beneath the appearance of a decent and clever young girl, there is an unmistakable viciousness in her eyes. 

Old Horror Renewed

Some aspects of the film are clear remakes of old horror flicks. For example, the depiction of soldiers and scientist finding refuge in an underground bunker is an obvious retelling of the original Day of the Dead; a group of people traveling to nowhere in search for protection makes for a good reminder of The Walking Dead; and the landscape resembles an environment in the aftermath of 28 Days Later. The premise about a zombie outbreak, the possibility of a cure, and intelligent undead have all been explored before.

It is true that The Girl with All the Gifts doesn’t present a brand new perspective of undead apocalypse, but zombie children with brains and conscience are still fresh in the industry. The film draws inspirations from previous popular titles, but the final product is more than enough to become an inspiration for many to come. It is both well-influenced and influential.

A Classic Conflict

Familiarity in the plotline serves the film well. The already-exhaustively explored conflict between the needs of the few and a greater good is presented with intriguing consequences. Melanie could sacrifice herself to save humanity, but she will not be around to see it. Beginning at this point, the film leans heavily into Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend where humankind is about to get ready to end their reign on Earth and handover the torch to a new species.

Melanie comes to the realization that she and other kids like herself deserve the right to live instead of being used as lab rats. It is time that human-zombie hybrids rule the world. It is a refreshing take on the apocalyptic zombie genre, and perhaps is more truthful to Richard Matheson’s novel than anything before.

We think The Girl with All the Gifts was brilliantly done for all the reasons above. Even in Hollywood, where the constant cry is, “Make it just like that other movie…only different,” and remakes rule among the unimaginative mega production companies, it seems this one is truly a bit different. 

What do you think? Have we gone out of our minds to say we like this movie? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

If you liked this, then check out What the Aliens Were Doing in the War of the Worlds Movies, and Other Amazing Facts about This Sci-Fi Mega-Story!

Other things you might want to know about.

What were some things that H.G. Wells predicted?

According to www.dur.ac.uk there was no writer that was better known for seeing the future than H.G. Wells. In some of his writings you can read the predictions of the aeroplane, the tank, space travel, the atomic bomb, satellite television and the worldwide web. 

For more detailed information about H.G. Wells  go to www.dur.ac.uk and read this comment and opinion by Simon John James, a professor in the Department of English Studies at Durham University. It’s fascinating to read about Wells and realize that he lived 150 years ago. 

Five things you didn’t know about H.G. Wells

  1. Wells was a trained scientist. 
  2. Wells was published in Nature.
  3. Wells wrote text books.
  4. Wells was not born into money.
  5. Wells invented something like Wikipedia.

Go to scientificamerican.com to watch a short video about H.G. Wells and to read more details about his life.  

What are books written by H.G. Wells?

The War of the Worlds – 1898

The Time Machine – 1895

The Invisible Man – 1897

The Island of Doctor Moreau – 1896

The Magic Shop – 1895

The Country of the Blind – 1904

La Guerrero Des Mondes – 1898

The First Men in the Moon – 1901

The Outline of History – 1920

The Red Room – 1896

La tempomasino- 1895

A Short History of the World – 1922

The Shape of Things to Come – 1933

The Door in the Wall – 1906

The Star – 1897

The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth – 1904

The Sleeper Awakes – 1899

The World Set Free – 1914

Little Wars – 1913

A Modern Utopia – 1905

The Open Conspiracy – 1928

Men Like Gods – 1923

The War in the Air – 1908

Toon-Bungay – 1908

The Man who Could Work a Miracle – 1898

The Cone – 1895

Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul – 1905

The Empire of the Ants – 1905

Russia in the Shadows – 1920

The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents – 1895

Ann Veronica – 1909

The Country of the Blind and other stories – 1911

The Treasure in the Forest – 1894

World Brain – 1938

Anticipations and other papers – 1901

The Crystal Egg – 1897

The Science of Life – 1929

In the Days of the Comet – 1906

The History of Mr Polly – 1910

Tales of Space and Time – 1899

The Wheels of Chance – 1896

The Wonderful Visit – 1895

Floor Games – 1911

The Diamond Maker – 1894

Go to thriftbooks.com to read about these books.