Wel­come gifts

Zom­bie movies get a shot in the arm from The Girl With All The Gifts

Empire (UK) - - PREMIERE -

t’s a blus­tery June day in soli­hull. dark, over­cast, with rain on the hori­zon. the per­fect con­di­tions, then, for the end of the world.

here, be­hind a dis­used for­mer Pow­er­gen build­ing (now owned by a ma­jor su­per­mar­ket chain) that’s stand­ing in for post-apoc­a­lyp­tic lon­don, Em­pire watches as the re­main­ing mem­bers of the cast of The Girl With All The Gifts — in­clud­ing Paddy Con­si­dine, Gemma arter­ton, Glenn Close and young new­comer sen­nia nanua — gingerly pick a path through an over­grown patch of land. dan­ger lurks ev­ery­where in the shape of in­fected hu­mans known as ‘hun­gries’, but sal­va­tion lies at hand in the shape of rosie, a gi­ant mo­bile lab­o­ra­tory the group of sur­vivors have tracked down. as chance would have it, Close’s sci­en­tist, Cald­well, helped de­sign the lab years ago, and man­ages to find a way in as night looms and the hun­gries stir…

Zom­bies, of course, are noth­ing new these days. you can’t throw a stone with­out hit­ting a mem­ber of the walk­ing dead. but Colm Mccarthy’s film prom­ises to stand out from the herd. Mike Carey’s screen­play, de­vel­oped at the same time as his novel of the same name, is as pre­oc­cu­pied with ask­ing big ques­tions about hu­man­ity as it is set­ting up cool kills. its fo­cus lies not with the des­per­ate sur­vivors, but with nanua’s Me­lanie, a hy­brid hun­gry/hu­man who may hold the key to a brave new world. “as zom­bie movies go, it’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,” says Con­si­dine, who plays a sol­dier try­ing to lead the group to safety af­ter a shit/fan in­ter­face. “it’s essen­tially about na­ture tak­ing over again and rein­vent­ing the hu­man race be­cause we weren’t quite good enough. i thought that was a cool mes­sage.”

then there’s the cast — not the kind of ac­tors you ex­pect to find in a such a piece. “i’ve never done any­thing like this be­fore,” ad­mits Con­si­dine. ditto Close. her most iconic screen roles may have in­volved boil­ing bun­nies and try­ing to skin pup­pies, but she’s out­side her com­fort zone. “i get too scared of movies like this,” she laughs. “i don’t go to hor­ror films, they’re just too fright­en­ing. but this was a bril­liant take on the genre, so i had to do it. i’m just glad i know what hap­pens in this!” the rest of us will have to be con­tent with peek­ing through our fin­gers.

The Girl With All The Gifts is out on septem­ber 9.

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