Get ready for the zombie apocalypse! This has, in fact, become a very popular theme throughout the past few years. Movies and series such as; World War Z, I Am Legend, The Walking Dead and 28 days later, have breathed much life into this niche of story-telling. Resulting from this, the trend has been able to maintain its relevance and appeal. However, along with the relevancy, has come a sense of redundancy. These franchises have captained this niche so well, that any following production is expected by fans to be similar to them. This is the concept of, the zombie apocalypse depicted from the perspective of human survivors. The Girl With All The Gifts, however, offers a very subtle but sharp contrast to this portrayal of the zombie apocalypse. I will simply state this contrast with one question. What if you saw the apocalypse, through the eyes of a zombie, who has retained its intelligence?
The majority of the human population has been infected by a virus, which entered the world through the maternal womb of blood and saliva. The virus has caused most of those infected, to become starving flesh eating monsters. Dr. Caroline Caldwell is stationed at a military base where she is passionately working on producing a vaccine. At the military base, there is a group of young children who are kept within cells. Dr. Caldwell has great faith that these children DNA can cure for the disease. How can a group of young tykes, save the world for a zombie apocalypse? These children while behaving like normal tykes, are infected with the disease and are also in fact zombies. Unlike the previous victims across the world, these children minds have not deteriorated. They also have shown the ability to retain information and along with both mental and emotional intelligence.
Among these children is a young 10-year-old girl by the name of Melanie. She along with the other children, are subjected to testing of all sorts. They have to undergo a physical examination by the doctors at the base. Along with this, their emotional and also mental capabilities are measured and tested within a classroom setting. This is done by preparing lessons for the children. Similar to what is experienced by young school students, when the world wasn’t overrun with zombies. The difference lies in that regular school children are not muzzled and strapped to steel chairs for the teacher’s safety. Though I’m sure there are some teachers in our world that might feel such measures may be necessary.
The lessons begin during the morning, where Melanie and her peers are taken from their holding cells to the classroom. When they arrive at class the children are held at gun point and made to sit in their respective seats. They are forced to keep this position while they are strapped into chairs. These children while brilliant, are still flesh-eating zombies and the necessary precautions have to be taken. Also similar to that of a regular school system, the children have multiple subjects to learn. Each subject is taught by its own respective teacher. Melanie has developed a great fondness for one her teachers by the name of Helen Justineau. This fondness can be easily interpreted as stemming from the manner in which Helen treats the children. Unlike her fellow colleagues, Helen sees the young children as just children. While her colleagues view the young tykes, more along the lines of being monsters and or test subjects. Sergeant Eddie Parks sees them through the scope of being monsters. On the other hand, Dr. Caldwell is primarily interested in dissecting the children’s brains. As she remains in her quest to produce a cure.
This classroom depiction basically outlines the daily rituals carried out by those who live at the base. This sense of normalcy is broken when Dr. Caldwell decides to unexpectedly take Melanie into a lab for dissection. Helen also has a mutual affection for Melanie and when she catches of Dr. Caldwell’s intentions, she is less than pleased. Helen rushes to Melanie’s rescue. She reaches the lab to find Melanie on the dissection table, where she then confronts Dr. Caldwell. During this confrontation the military base is attacked by Junkers. The title Junkers refer to people who chose to not reside within major cities but instead fend for themselves in the open. These Junkers serve as generals to a large army of zombies who they use to lay siege on the military base.
Only a few members of those who resided at military base manage to escape this encounter. This group is made up of Sergeant Parks, Dr. Caldwell, Justineau, Melanie and a young military officer. The sergeant manages to confiscate a Humvee which the group used to escape. The group has set their sights on the nearby city, Beacon, to be their refuge. On their way to Beacon, however, the rear axle of the Humvee becomes damaged and forces the group to walk. Can the group come together as a unit, as they make their way to salvation? Or, will they let their differences tear them apart, and cause them to become food for wandering zombies? Or even food for their own Melanie?
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The Girl With All the Gifts