|“||You are alive||„|
|~ Caldwell admitting to Melanie she believes that she can feel true emotions.|
Dr. Caroline Caldwell is the main antagonist of the 2016 British post-apocalyptic zombie horror drama film The Girl with All the Gifts.
She was portrayed by the six-time Academy Award nominated actress Glenn Close, who also portrayed Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, Cruella De Vil in the live action version of 101 Dalmatians, and Nicolette Cayman in What Happened to Mondays.
In the near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating zombies referred to as 'hungries'. Humankind's only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave living flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. The children go to school at an army base in the Home Counties, where they are subjected to experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell. The children are treated like people, to the dismay of Sgt. Eddie Parks, although they are all restrained firmly in wheelchairs. Helen Justineau is responsible for educating and studying the children. Helen treats the children fairly and grows particularly close to an exceptional girl named Melanie, who is shown to have a genius level IQ and the two form a special bond.
After Dr. Caldwell discovers that Melanie may be the answer to develope a vaccine she takes her to the lab to perform studies on her but is stopped by Justineau, Caldwell orders the soldiers to take her into custody, before Caldwell can begin the surgery, they are interrupted by a zombie attack in the base, Caldwell cuts her hand with a broken glass while stabbing one zombie in the neck and then escapes leaving Melanie strapped to the operation table, she manages to release herself and escapes, she rescues Justineau from the soldiers, then Justineau rescues Melanie from the soldiers and then they are both rescued by Parks and Caldwell in a truck.
Later in a forest the van breaks down and they get attacked reducing the group to Melanie, Justineau, Parks, Caldwell and private Kieran, so the group proceed to London on foot where there should be more food and they can communicate with Beacon, a larger military base.
As they progress through London they come across a mass of bodies encircling the BT Tower all sprouting with pods. Caldwell explains to the group that the pods contain spores that, if released, could end humankind, as the fungus will become airborne, anyways the pods are apparently unbreakable. They find a military lab and truck whose crew has gone missing. The group hole up and Melanie asks to leave to get food as she is finding her urge to feed overpowering. Melanie finds a group of wild childlike hungries, who have learned to smell out unaffected humans through the scent masking creams. Meanwhile Caldwell reveals to Justineau that she's dying of inflammatory sepsis from the cut in her hand, she tries to convince Justineau of letting her study Melanie´s brain and spine so she can make the vaccine before she succumbs, but she refuses, Melanie returns to the lab to warn the group that Kieran, who has also set off in search of food, is in danger. Helen and Parks set off with Melanie but arrive too late and find Kieran's body ravaged and the childlike hungries surrounding them. Melanie manages to scare the hungries off by battling their leader to the death and rescue Helen and Parks.
When they return to the lab they are surprised and knocked out by gas that Caldwell has released. She tries to drag Melanie to the lab but she awakens, Caldwell explains she is dying of a septic wound and needs to find the cure before she succumbs, and before the pods open, which will eventually happen as soon as they are exposed to water or heat. She tries to reason that she can save Helen for Melanie and will make her death less painful. Melanie asks if Caldwell now believes Melanie is truly alive, rather than simply mimicking human emotions as Caldwell once believed. When Caldwell admits that she knows Melanie is genuine, Melanie asks why her kind should die to save humans; she then breaks free, leaving the lab and running back to the centre of London. She sets the pods alight, causing them to germinate. Dr Caldwell, meanwhile, has attempted to follow Melanie, but is surrounded by the wild children and killed.