The zombie apocalypse heyday has seemingly come and gone, leaving us with a few truly inspired gems like 28 Days Later, Zombieland, and Shaun of the Dead. But, much like zombies themselves, the genre just doesn’t die, leaving plenty of opportunity for filmmakers to test out their own reimaginings of a familiar trope. This, as it turns out, is a good thing, as in the wake of zombie movie madness comes The Girl With All the Gifts.

Melanie attends a special school for special children. Not in the special needs sense, although their dietary needs aren’t like other humans’. And not in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children sense, either. Melanie and the other children she lives (un-lives?) with are a special sort of not-human not-zombies with thoughts, feelings, and identities, but also a terrifying bloodlust for human flesh.

The near future; humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”. Only a small group of children seem immune to its effects.

At an army base in rural England, this group of unique children are being studied, subjected to cruel experiments by biologist Dr. Caldwell. Despite having been infected with the zombie pathogen that has decimated the world, these children retain normal thoughts and emotions. And while still being subject to the craving for human flesh that marks the disease these second-generation “hungries” are able to think and feel making them a vital resource in the search for a cure.

The children attend school lessons daily, guarded by the ever watchful Sergeant Parks. But one little girl, Melanie, stands out from the rest. Melanie is special. She excels in the classroom, is inquisitive, imaginative and loves her favorite teacher Miss Justineau. When the base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and Dr. Caldwell. Against the backdrop of a blighted Britain, Melanie must discover what she is and ultimately decide both her own future and that of the human race.

Our Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer saw the film at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and loved it, calling it, “a welcome injection of new blood to the zombie genre” in his review. The Girl With All the Gifts is directed by Colm McCarthy, stars Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, and Paddy Considine, and is available On Demand on January 26.

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