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Maggie, not quite the zombie film you thought it was
Maggie: “PG-13“ (1 h. 46 min.)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Douglas M. Griffin, J.D. Evermore
Directed by: Henry Hobson
If there is one genré that is perhaps overdone (with — to be sure — not only positive and horrible, but often times outright goofy as well) it is zombie films. Every once in a great while (yes, even with George Romero films, and The Walking Dead) it takes an independent, short student film to given us a truly great and original zombie movie like Cargo. Well, just to prove that a high-profile zombie film can also be made without all of the blood splatter that is de rigueur for this type of flick, we would like to present to you Maggie, staring none other than a very subdued and (if you can believe it) nuanced) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Maggie on DVD
As the world narrowly recovers from a near apocalyptic virus, an infected teenage girl with only a precious few weeks to live must find the strength and bravery to face her fleeting mortality as her father struggles helplessly to protect her from the frightened town and keep the family together. This heartbreaking take on the zombie genre twists expectations and puts a human face on an inexplicable horror.
The film begins in the present-day Midwestern United States. Society is struggling to function in the aftermath of a zombie pandemic that is barely under control. Maggie Vogel (Breslin) calls her father, Wade (Schwarzenegger) from a broken city that is under curfew; she misses him, but leaves a voicemail urges that he not seek her and informing him that she loves him. Turns out that her arm was bitten. In this Zombie Apocalypse it turns out that the U.S. is apparently better prepared and already has begun to take steps to combat it. While we don’t learn much of what started it, or how it has progressed, we get the impression that it is really nothing like the mass zombie wandering hoards as we’ve seen in in other post-apocalypse zombie films, but that doesn’t actually matter, as this is not quite like any other zombie film we’ve ever seen.
A Father's Pain
As we learn; Wade has been searching for his teenage daughter Maggie for couple of weeks now. He finally locates her in the quarantine wing of a hospital. When he gets there he learns that Maggie has been infected by a lethal outbreak of an infection called the “Necroambulist Virus” which transforms the victim into a zombie. Wade’s friend Dr. Vern Kaplan (Jodie Moore) releases Maggie to her father so that she can spend her last days “alive” with Wade and her family. When he gets her home, Caroline (Richardson), her stepmother, insists that Wade take their little children to her sister’s house to keep them safe.
Father and Daughter
As we Die
As the days progress, Maggie condition worsens, and she is slowly transformed. Wade refuses to leave her side, and stays with her protecting Maggie. Dr. Vern warns him that the moment that he will have to take an ultimate decision is closer.
A different Kind of Zombie Movie
There really isn’t much in the way of hordes of zombie attacks in this film as it really isn’t so much a horror movie, as it is a human drama that takes place among the horror of and on-going zombie infestation. (To be sure, during their return, there is a zombie attack on Wade at an abandoned gasoline station and he defends himself, breaking its neck. The film is really slow, and laconic, moving along as if we haven’t seen this type a hundred or more times already. Truthfully, we are so fundamentally moved by the pathos and humanity of this film that it really is hard to call it a zombie flick, as the zombie outbreak has become something of, what legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock referred to as a McGuffin — a device or plot element in a movie that is deliberately placed to catch the viewer’s attention and/or drive the logic of the plot, but which actually serves no further purpose.
Father and Daughter
A Very Human Drama
Make no mistake about this this is a human drama film, of a father who is separately attempting to rescue his beloved daughter from a fate he cannot prevent, nor can he spare her the pain of what she is going through, and the agony of a daughter who wishes to spar her father the agony of what he cannot prevent. This is a powerful tale of an inevitable horror that should not be endured. Thus it is also a deeply moving human drama, one that should not be missed — either because of what it truly is (a zombie film) , nor because of the perceived star power of its lead actor (Schwarzenegger).