Director Colm McCarthy and novice screenwriter Mike Carey (adapting the script from his own novel) do their best to pump fresh blood into the tired zombie genre (for example, the Z-word is rarely used – here the flesh-eating critters are called “hungries” and contacted their condition through a fungal infection).
Brit beauty Gemma Arterton dispenses with make-up to reveal the natural beauty within (and has seldom been more convincing) as a teacher who lets her emotions get in the way of her job. Veteran actress Glenn Close (sporting an unflattering butch cut) is characteristically convincing as a scientist so focused on her work that she is oblivious to her humanity.
Add Paddy Considine as a volatile soldier to the mix and you have the human ingredients for a zombie- excuse me – apocalyptic thriller with a sting in its tale.
But the film really belongs to feature film newcomer Sennia Nanua (no fair telling you who her character really is ). She joins a select group of young female performers including Oscar-nominated Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Dafne Keen (Logan) and Millie Bobby Brown (Netflix’s Stranger Things) whose seemingly effortless and naturalistic performances place them in a class all their own.