A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.
‘Maggie’ is a dull zombie drama that doesn’t provide a good enough script to match the strong performances from its central cast. The film focuses on the titular Maggie (Abigail Breslin), a teenage girl infected by a zombie virus, in a world where transformation takes weeks to fully take hold. This provides the opportunity for the film to treat the zombie virus much like a terminal illness, with the infected and those surrounding them given time to come to terms with the situation. There’s a story to be told in this setting, but ‘Maggie’ never really drives into this aspect, and nor does it make the most of its post-apocalyptic setting, with the film mostly restricted to one or two locations. This gives the film a claustrophobic feel, but the plot moves so slowly with little action that it’s boring for the most part.
The performances are strong, although as previously mentioned the material doesn’t give the actors a lot to work with. As Maggie’s father, Arnold Schwarzenegger is slightly miscast, but his performance is earnest and he successfully conveys the emotions of a father coming to terms with his daughter’s fate. Unusually for Schwarzenegger, he does most of his acting here with his eyes and it’s interesting to see him tackling a different kind of role in a different kind of film. Breslin is also good as Maggie, seemingly resigned to her fate from the outset, whilst Joely Richardson is more minor as her stepmother. Throughout the film is incredibly bleak with little or no levity throughout, and when we’re lingering around these characters with very little action this becomes overwhelming.
‘Maggie’ barely delves into the horror aspects of the zombie genre, choosing instead to focus on the drama of a father coming to terms with his daughter dying. In that sense, it’s a more poetic approach to the subject matter and Breslin and Schwarzenegger give it their all, but the script is light on action and they’re not given much to work with.
Directed By: Henry Hobson
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Douglas M. Griffin and J. D. Evermore