The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

As in this girl has special powers due to how she came to be, not that she’s giving out presents or anything. Though admittedly, it would be kinda nice to get a present right now. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff?

In the very near future, the world sucks. Athlete’s Foot has basically evolved into a super fungus which turns us into mold zombies. However, when a pregnant woman is infected, the fungus forms a symbiosis with the fetus’ brain, causing them to ostensibly grow and develop as normal humans with the one side effect that they’re also cannibalistic and have creepy super senses. Since humanity is on its way out, it studies the kids and experiments on them to try and develop a cure. Melanie is one of these special kids, and she lives in a camp in England. Just as she’s about to be turned into mulch for the purposes of science, the mold zombies break in, and she helps her favorite teacher escape along with a scientist and a few military folks. They head into London to link up with other facilities and learn more about the fungus, only to discover that the fungus has further evolved to release airborne spores, and humanity is pretty much screwed. What isn’t zombie territory is feral fungus child territory. Eventually pretty much everybody dies except for her teacher as Melanie realizes she’s the next step in human evolution and starts an education program for the local feral kids.

Ok, it’s not really Athlete’s Foot, but a variation of ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which if you don’t know, is a nasty fungus that goes after bugs and turns them into walking mushroom bombs. Yep, we have parasitic fungus attacking insect life, and in this particularly lovely tale, it hops species to go after humanity with ruthless efficiency. How do we fight it? Skin cream. I’m not kidding. We use skin cream to cover the scent of human flesh. Trouble is, skin cream also has a smell, so the feral kids figure it out, and we’re back to being walking flesh popsicles to the mutant populace.

I just want to take a moment here to remind you that you are a walking edible meat bag to large sections of the animal kingdom and even a few sections of humanity. Now doesn’t that feel nice?

Anyway, Melanie is the lone hybrid that really cares about her teacher, so she does whatever she can to protect her, albeit to the point of basically trapping her in a small portable research station and forcing her to teach the feral kids while they run amok and humanity dies. Also, I don’t know what she’s going to do for food in there. She’s kinda screwed. Melanie, meanwhile, willingly wears a face shield to keep her from being able to bite the regular people, but from time to time she gets hungry, so they let her go eat cats and stuff. Since feral cats are also a problem, this seems like a win-win to me.

The real kicker here is that humanity was actually just short of finding that perfect cure, at least according to the doctor, played with convincing conviction by Glenn Close. Melanie was going to be her last dissection. We missed out on survival by less than an inch. Man, it sucks to be human sometimes.

If you’re bored of zombie films, this one probably isn’t going to do much for you. If you are ok with zombie films and just want a little variation, this one will do. If you are over fungus zombies entirely after having marathoned The Last of Us, that’s your fault.

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