Written By Jacob Chimilar (Letterboxd: sweetlows)
A group of children is being taught in a military facility, chained to chairs and locked away in cells. The reason? They are zombies. They are there to learn from and create a vaccine in the hopes of restarting the human population. The story follows a young girl named Melanie who is the brightest and least susceptible to the flesh eating urges of the other “hungries”. When their compound is compromised it's up to the team and Melanie to find shelter and continue their research.
The characters outside of Melanie are pretty one dimensional and mostly throw away. What makes Melanie special and interesting is that she is a hybrid of sorts, the perfect person to bridge the gap between humans and hungries. Unfortunately, it doesn't really give her much to play with. Mostly it's as a guide. Go here, do that. She does have some moments where she proves her usefulness but also struggles to be who she is and who she wants to be for everyone else. It's a interesting way to present how one person, despite their seemingly dangerous affliction can in fact use it to their advantage while still being a functioning member of society.
It's a fairly well acted film, Glen Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine did the best they could with what they had but the real star was Sennia Nanua as Melanie. She brings a real charisma and charm to the role. Unlike some child actors, I was totally sold on this little girl, showing a range of emotions that express that of a young child's in a very real way that elevated an otherwise bland movie.
It was made for only $4 million, and it kind of shows. It feels like a TV movie. Well shot and uniquely scored, but has a level of cheapness that can't be ignored. That said the action sequences are very tense and most certainly drew me in, especially the escape near the beginning. The dialogue was fine, nothing really stands out and the explanation for the outbreak and the zombie breeding process was an interesting twist I hadn't heard before.
Of course because it's a zombie movie, there are zombies crawling everywhere and each stop brings on a new wave to contend with and ward off in some way. I just felt like the film didn't really have enough meat on it to make it a worthwhile watch over the course of it's run time. There are interesting ideas, the beginning is a great set up and it does redeem itself somewhat by the very end but the middle is pretty muddy and bogs the whole thing down. If it shows up on a streaming service or you are aching for something a little gory with some decent performances by all means give it a spin.