The trailer for this movie took me completely by surprise. Not being a book reader, I wasn’t aware of the 2014 best seller that this movie is based on, and I wasn’t aware that there was a movie adaptation in the pipeline either. The trailer looked amazing though – not quite your traditional zombie style movie…
We open in a military facility. Children are locked in small cells and strapped into wheelchairs at gunpoint by soldiers each morning before being wheeled into a classroom. It’s gritty stuff.
Paddy Considine is a moody sergeant, keen to dish out the discipline, scientist Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close) carries out unpleasant studies on the children, while teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) is a lot kinder and more sympathetic to the children. But when one of the children catches scent of a soldier and displays jaw chattering frenzied zombie behaviour, it’s clear they’re that they’re restrained for good reason.
We’re in England, years after humanity was infected by a fungus which spreads by it’s spores but also through human blood and saliva. The infected are known as “hungries”, losing mental powers and developing the zombie-like characteristics that we see in the children. These children are different to most infected adults though, and Dr Caldwell is studying them as she believes they hold the key to a cure.
Melanie isn’t like the other children in captivity. She’s highly intelligent and very polite to all of her captors. She seems able to control her urges a lot more than the other children and she begins to develop a close bond with the teacher. It’s kind of like Matilda, but a lot darker 😄
Shit hits the fan when the base is breached and we finally realise the full scale of the epidemic. The infected, or “hungries” as they are called, are really terrifying and tear through the base killing all. It’s like The Walking Dead on steroids. The ferocity of World War Z, but grittier and more realistic.
Our main characters, including Melanie all manage to escape and head off in search of the next nearby base. They end up in London, carefully picking their way through the hungries in search of safe shelter and we discover more about the fungus along the way. It wraps around our brains, controlling us and eventually sprouting from us creating large forest like structures around the city. Scary stuff.
There are a number of directions this movie could have taken and the direction it ended up taking was a complete surprise. I can’t say that I liked the ending very much but I loved the movie overall. Great performances from all, particularly from the girl playing Melanie. A nice, fresh take on the zombie genre.