This movie is about a girl, Melanie, a scientist, and a teacher, who are trying to survive a dystopian/apocalyptic future full of zombies, which are called hungries in both the movie and the novel of the same name. In one instance everything changes, and Melanie finds herself defending her teacher in a way she didn’t know she could, and the teacher, scientist, a couple of soldiers, and Melanie find that they need to find a way to safety, to the Beacon of hope. However, a landscape full of hungries stands in their way, and they don’t know if they will survive, if they will be eaten, or if they will become a monster themselves. Of course, one question a lot of movies like this pose is who is the real monster?
Throughout the movie, Melanie, played by Sennia Nanua, portrays an innocent, playful, inquisitive child, well. She does not know what she is, although she does know that she is different. While she does still seem to be the same character in the movie as she is in the book, I feel that the movie made her a tad more intelligent and inquisitive than she was in the book. She still loves her teacher, Helen Justineau, and she does what she can to help her, but she isn’t as curious about the other children, nor is she as frightened as she was in the novel towards Doctor Caroline Caldwell.
Speaking of the other children, the movie makes a hasty introduction, but it isn’t really as thorough of the book, so it feels as if some of the information that made the story interesting is left out. The interactions between the children and the instructors and soldiers, isn’t as built as it could have been. In the novel, the reader knows how Melanie feels about Helen because there are several interactions, however in the movie there is only one scene in the schoolroom, and one outside, before everything goes to hell. The viewer of the movie doesn’t get as much background on the rest of the children, so there is no reason for the viewer to have as much sympathy for them as there was built in the novel.
Throughout it was obvious that several things had been changed due to the time restrictions of the film. The only monsters they had to face were the hungries, whereas in the book there are not only the hungries, but also humans with nothing to live for but their own selfish survival. The ending is a little different, but it isn’t a bad movie. Part of it, like a lot of movies, are a little slow, but overall, not bad. I will say, this is another case of I prefer the novel over the film, but that isn’t always true. I felt there was more depth to the novel that was lost in the film’s translation.