The Girl with All the Gifts Blu-ray Review
28 Months Later
Something of a spiritual sequel to the 28 Days Later, The Girl with All the Gifts offers another nice twist on the burgeoning genre.Based on the bestselling 2014 novel of the same name, The Girl with All the Gifts revolves around a rather unique scenario, looking at the development of children in a zombie-infested (here called 'hungries') post-apocalyptic environment. With a strong and committed quintet of key players - Gemma Arterton's sympathetic army teacher, Glenn Close's single-minded scientist, and soldiers Paddy Considine and Fisayo Akinade, with 'gifted' child Sennia Nanua an exceptional driving force to the proceedings - the tale manages to breathe some semblance of fresh air into a genre that has, over the last decade, become thoroughly saturated both in its small and big screen formats.Often playing as what you'd expect from a follow up to both Danny Boyle's stellar 28 Days Later and also the punchy sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which he didn't direct, The Girl with All the Gifts juggles a clearly restricted budget and limited effects well (notwithstanding slightly dubious zombie make-up) and capitalises on its new slant on the genre, building with twists and turns towards an unusual ending which appears to be the sticking point for many of the film's detractors. Certainly it doesn't hit all the right notes, but tension is squeezed out of every scene and maintained across the proceedings, whilst a haunting score further raises the hairs on your arms. Worth checking out.
Picture QualityThe Girl with All the Gifts comes to UK Blu-ray complete with a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.00 widescreen. It's a relatively unusual scope but it works for the picture, allowing the more tense, claustrophobic sequences to remain intimate, but still providing a broader feel to the apocalyptic set-up and more expansive shots of the zombie hordes.
The Girl with All the Gifts boasts a strong video presentation
Although the presentation displays largely excellent detail on close-ups, and affords the picture some rich textures and strong shadow detail courtesy of black levels that seldom betray any crush, there is nonetheless a slightly softer edge to some of the shots, particularly on exteriors around the base camp, perhaps designed to lend the film a more futuristic bent that fuels its post-apocalyptic vibe. Despite what looks to have been a stylistic choice that doesn't quantifiably affect your viewing pleasure, it's a strong presentation.
Audio QualityOn the aural front, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track benefits most greatly from an emotionally resonant, positively haunting score that strives to - and succeeds in - getting under your skin right from the outset.
The audio benefits from a haunting score
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the front and centre channels, dominating the proceedings where necessary, whilst the effects are adeptly picked up and disseminated. From the snarling zombie hordes to the buzzing electronic locks and leather body restraints frequently pulled taut. It's also one of those rare occasions where we find the sound effects largely reflect the actual sound of a suppressed gun, which is less 'silenced' as we have come to expect it from Hollywood, and more muffled, particularly on these rifles.
The louder non-suppressed weaponry provide a more deafening thunder which echoes and reverberates across the hollow landscape. Despite this impressive sound design, it's the score that truly stands out, a haunting, penetrating effort reminiscent of Channel 4's quirky and oftentimes brutal Utopia TV series, which makes sense, because it's been delivered by the same composer (he also did Channel 4's Humans). It's Cristobal Tapia de Veer's first film score, and a strong argument could be put forward that it remains possibly the single best element of the entire film.
ExtrasAlthough ostensibly limited to just a trifecta of simple offerings - a Behind the Scenes Featurette, some Interviews and some B-roll footage, the extras package here is surprisingly comprehensive under the surface, with a fairly substantial 20 minutes allocated to the Behind the Scenes overview, whilst the Interviews spend 5-10 minutes with each one of the main quintet of key cast members, and then a longer 10-20 minutes with some key crew members, including the producer, the writer, and also the director. Even the B-roll footage is pretty hefty, running at 20 minutes and revealing the rougher edges around the zombie makeup.
Blu-ray VerdictIt doesn't hit all the right notes, but this unusual addition to the burgeoning zombie genre is worth checking out
Warner's UK release of The Girl with All the Gifts provides solid video and excellent audio, the latter bolstered by a tremendous debut score from the composer who scored Channel 4's Utopia and Humans. With a nice selection of surprisingly meaty extras, fans should consider this a solid purchase, whilst those not yet tired of the zombie genre should definitely check it out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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