Sunday, June 07, 2015


Year: 2015
Director: Henry Hobson
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson

Plot: A father does everything he can to protect his daughter after she is infected by a virus that turns people into zombies.

Review: Arnold Schwarzenegger + zombies ought to equal to action horror vehicle, right? No, it's not that kind of film. It's rare to find a zombie film that isn't focused on the horror side of it, or the crazy action flick ala World War Z that it can be. Rather, Maggie is a quiet drama about a father and his daughter who has become infected with a zombie virus.

In this film, a viral outbreak has cost many lives and many infected people have been quarantined. Crops and fields have been torched to stop the spread of the virus. Wade Vogel is a farmer whose daughter Maggie has become infected with the virus, and only has a short time left to live. Doctors have advised him to bring her for quarantine once she shows signs of advanced stages of infection, or end her life himself. So Wade and Maggie's stepmother Caroline do all they can to make her final days as comfortable as possible, which isn't easy as her infection makes her unpredictable, and the local police are concerned about more infections happening.

As stated, this isn't your regular zombie film. Maggie is the kind of film that aims for your heart. If you've ever had a family member who was dying of a disease and there was very little you can do about it, you would relate to this immediately. Even if you don't, the film is well executed enough to make you feel for the lead characters as they do their best to delay the inevitable. New director Henry Hobson does a solid job of keeping the Vogel family relatable to the audience by showing moments of normalcy and laughter in between the gloomy parts of the situation at hand. Cinematographer Lukas Ettlin deserves credit for keeping his focus close on faces, eyes, hands, feet and objects in an effort to make things more intimate between them and the audience.

In a part that one would imagine actors like Sean Penn or Kevin Bacon to excel in, Arnold Schwarzenegger is an unlikely choice, but well made. The Governator still isn't a great actor after all these years (let's be real), but in this film, he does a great job as the father who would do anything to protect his daughter from harm. It's fascinating to note that the man can emote in a quiet film like this. Abigail Breslin is equally good as Maggie, trying to live a normal life as her last days pass her by. Joely Richardson is also solid as Wade's wife and Maggie's stepmother Caroline, who cares for Maggie but is wary of what she's turning into.

The film does take a strange turn in the middle third when Schwarzenegger disappears as Maggie hangs out with her friends and only reappears when her disease takes a bad upward swing. I found it a bit jarring and inconsistent, though not entirely baffling. There's also the question of the lack of focus on the disease itself, but as I've said, it's not that kind of film, so be warned if you're looking for excitement here. You won't find it.

My final verdict would be to check this film out, to satisfy a wee bit of your curiosity. If you ever want to see Schwarzenegger in a drama, then go see this. I say it's worth it. (7/10) 

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