Maggie - Zombies on a Personal Level
Chris Kavan - wrote on 07/05/15
Maggie is possibly the most introspective zombie movie out there. Most films about zombies are about killing them - or surviving them - but zombies are usually highly featured. In Maggie, you see very few zombies and it's really about a father and daughter - their relationship and coping with what is a certain death.
Arnold Schwarzeneggar is the father and despite being one of the biggest action stars of all time, he really manages to pull of a nuanced and even tender role. I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect, but he really does manage to put his heart on his sleeve and you get the sense he's struggling with what is essentially having to deal with the death of his daughter. His daughter is played by Abigail Breslin - who broke out in Little Miss Sunshine and has previously been in another zombie film (the not-at-all-the-same Zombieland). Breslin plays a typical moody teen - but one who is succumbing to a virus that will kill her (and reanimate her into a killing machine). She also has to deal with a step-mother (Joely Richardson) and saying goodbye to a handful of friends.
The two leads sell the film well and the other thing that works really well is the look. This is bleak, Midwestern landscape. The color is often washed-out, you see the signs of how this epidemic has affected the country (even though it's a limited scope) and you get the small-town cops and doctors trying to do their jobs. It's kind of like the depression all over again - only with the looming threat of people turning into zombies on top of lack of power and other amenities.
The biggest hit against Maggie is going to be its pacing. It moves quite slow - and although the interactions and emotions are well done, it does tend to drag. Plus, you kind of know how it's going to end (just not quite how it's going to play out) and thus it feels a bit anti-climactic. That being said, if you stick with it, what you're left with is a zombie film unlike any other - one that, for the most part, actually ignores the zombies to focus on something much more important - the impact it has on a personal level.