These days, it’s hard to make a truly innovative zombie film. Ever since genre godfather George Romero showed that ambling flesh eaters were great vehicles for both scares and social commentary, successors have been trying to put a spin on his formula. This effort has been going on for nearly 50 years at this point, making the prospect of bringing new life to the walking dead seem dim at best. Just last year, however, South Korean sleeper hit Train to Busan proved that the zombie picture still had some blood left in its veins, and now, the powerful new trailer for The Girl with All the Gifts suggests that there might be a beating heart, as well.
The film, which is based on Mike Care’s eponymous novel and made its U.S. premiere at TIFF this past September, tracks a motley crew of characters as they fight for survival within a zombie-infested wasteland. Even though this premise sounds exasperatingly clichéd, the trailer for the film looks anything but. Within the first minute alone, our interests are piqued by some fascinating design decisions, such as a putridly lit, prison/classroom full of wheelchair-bound children in orange uniforms, and a zombie attack that makes nifty use of background space (keep an eye out for those shots where action in the distance sweeps slowly but surely into the foreground—suspenseful stuff). Musically, the trailer shifts from an eerie, ambient hum into a full-tilt orchestral surge, along the way teasing settings and set-pieces that evoke the likes of 28 Days Later and Children of Men.
In addition to the great trailer, the film’s highly positive early reviews make The Girl with All the Gifts’s Jan. 26 online debut something to look forward to. Who knows, maybe the film will even become one of our all-time favorite zombie pictures.