Maggie (2015)

maggie_2015_poster
Maggie (2015)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Henry Hobson
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson

Storyline:

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.

3 reviews

  • Those expecting to see Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator himself, kicking zombie ass in Maggie are in for a surprise. Taking an uncommon approach to a genre that shows little sign of abating in popularity, Maggie is less about the horrors of a zombie attack and more about the moral quandary faced by families whose loved ones have been infected by the necroambulist virus.

    The Vogels are one such family, with patriarch Wade (Schwarzenegger) seen retrieving his afflicted daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) from a government quarantine zone at the start of the film. There is nothing to be done for Maggie’s condition – she will turn into a zombie in six to eight weeks time – but Wade wants her to spend her last human days in the comfort of her own home. Maggie’s stepmother Caroline (Joely Richardson), though loving and supportive, clearly has concerns as do the local cops who believe Maggie to be an imminent threat to the safety of her family and the community.

    The family doctor warns Wade that Maggie’s disease is rapidly spreading and Wade has but three options: take her to quarantine, give her a drug treatment that will cure nothing but cause her extremely horrible pain, or quickly put her out of her misery. As the signs become ever more pronounced – milky eyes, spider veins, scabbed sense, a sense of smell highly tuned to human flesh – Wade must confront the inescapable fact that not only must his daughter die, but he will be the one making the decision for her time of death.

    Heady themes come into play in John Scott 3’s screenplay. Is Caroline’s fear borne out of pragmatism or because Maggie is her daughter in name only? Would Caroline react the same way if one of her own children were infected? Will Wade take his own daughter’s life or hand her over to the authorities, who will only throw her in a room full of other cannibals in the making so they can feed on one another? Will Wade’s bottomless love for his daughter stave off the inevitable? All intriguing questions to ponder, but director Henry Hobson undermines the strengths of the script with overly ominous sound design and dim lighting. A title designer by trade, Hobson is going for a specific colour palette but the various shades of grey result in the film feeling weighed-down.

    The film is too solemn and pondering by any standard, but it is worth a look for the performances of its two leads. Breslin convinces as Maggie transitions from victim to predator. Schwarzenegger turns in a remarkably subdued portrayal. The warmth and generosity these two share lend a richness to their characters’ relationship, making their dilemma all the more touching.

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  • If you think of the movie’s concept, you can’t help but being positive about Maggie. Although this movie belongs to the zombie category, Maggie is an amazingly different film than those shoot-and-run zombie flicks we all know. Maggie follows the tragic transformation of a teenage girl in a by a sickness terrorised North-American countryside. I liked how the tragic and relatively slow scenery really made you feel a part of the grieving family, which is trying to make the best of the last time with the sick Maggie. It’s a very tragic story, and seeing Maggie get more and more afraid when she’s slowly transforming into a flesh-eating cannibal was in my opinion a job done well by the producers. However, the acting isn’t good at all. Choosing Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role of a loving, caring and grieving father was a very bad decision. Schwarzenegger’s acting skills are not made for a slow, low action movie, let alone for a character who’s tender, afraid and protective. His heavy German accent was a total put off, since it just didn’t fit in with the rest of the film. The acting of the other actors isn’t to be cheered for either. I also missed a lot of dialogue. The characters are quite flat, and the conversations don’t go that deep. Especially Schwarzenegger seems to be excellent in keeping his mouth shut. His sentences often don’t go any further than 4 words. To be fair, he did say “Maggie, get in da car!”, which may or may not have been a reference to his all famous line.

    Overall, the movie wasn’t too great. It wasn’t bad either, but it did get pretty close. Too bad that this movie had a great amount of potential. It just needed different actors and better script writers.

  • “I made a promise to your mother,that I would protect you. Yeah, but…what about you guys? What if I hurt you? Don’t worry.Caroline and I, we know the precautions.”

    Schwarzenegger performing in a horror that eventually turns into a drama. It’s not what you expect from this action film icon. Strange but true, the one-liner “I’ll be back” is even being recycled, but it’s not said by Arnold this time. One fact is certain, Schwarzenegger will not go down in history as the actor who’s suitable for a character part, but I must admit that the effort he did here, produced an admirable final result. After acting as a barbarian, a cyborg returning from the future, a clumsy kindergarten teacher and a pregnant guy, he acquitted himself in a proper way of his role as a concerned father who takes his infected daughter back home, so that she’s not being quarantined at the moment she transforms into a bloodthirsty zombie.

    Once again a virus is the cause that the number of ardent vegetarians among the US population drastically shrinks and slowly but surely turn into zombies, better known as “necro-ambulist”. Wade (Schwarzenegger) is an older farmer, who’s looking since a few weeks for his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin). When he finally finds her, she turns out to be infected after being bitten by such a barbecue fanatic. Wade is determined to take care of her at home. This is allowed because it takes a few weeks before a victim effectively makes the “turn” before going into a zombie-status. At that moment the verdict is that she needs to be quarantined. Ultimately that means that the authorities let the infected citizens huddle together (regardless what the degree of infection is) so the problem is solved by itself (through self-consumption so to speak).

    I like a zombie movie now and then. Both the straightforward version, where there is excessive use of gore and bloody scenes with massive amounts of human remains that needs to be devoured and juicy brains, as the versions that differs slightly from the horror genre being created by Romero. “Dead within” is such a movie where the emphasis isn’t on the living-dead creatures. And “Warm bodies” you can call the rom-com zombie movie par excellence. Also in “Maggie” you shouldn’t expect apocalyptic images full of bloody zombies. Those images are restricted to two confrontations and a few flashbacks. The only horrifying is the slow change Maggie undergoes and a moment of self-mutilation. The final decision Wade has to make is his most daunting moment.

    Maybe that’s the only thing I could criticize. Schwarzenegger actually doesn’t do anything special throughout the whole film, except mulling over the choice he has to make at the moment he starts to smell like a well-cooked bratwurst according to Maggie. Or putting his daughter in quarantine. Or administering a painful drug cocktail. Or the radical solution. You can see him pondering about it throughout the movie. His weathered, bearded face speaks volumes. But he does that with sincerity and conviction. The most memorable moment was when Maggie spent a night with some friends somewhere in a field completely with sulfur sticks and a somewhat inconvenient conversation that arose. A touching reunion where everyone pretended that everything was normal, but at the same time they all realized that this would probably be the last time they could enjoy each other’s company. And of course the final scene that reminded me immediately of “World War Z”.

    It’s obvious that the emphasis in this film is on the father-daughter relationship. Schwarzenegger and Breslin demand therefore the most attention and displace the supporting cast completely to the background. The following would sound a little trite: “Arnold plays a role in such a way you’re not used of him.” But in the end I could only conclude that it was just like that. He’d better skipped all previous performances (especially “Sabotage”). So I was clearly pleasantly surprised. About Breslin I can only say that this is a wonderful actress and a future star on the Hollywood firmament. Despite the limited dialogues, this was a brilliant acting performance in which she shows in a subtle way that she’s aware of her approaching end. But her being a rising star, was something I already noticed in “Wicked blood” and recently in “Final Girl” (although this wasn’t such a great flick). I didn’t know she also played a part in “The Call”. And another little fact: Schwarzenegger’s name in “Escape Plan” was Ray Breslin. What a coincidence !

    Conclusion: I’m sure the hardcore zombie fans will say that this is an abominable bad movie because of the total lack of gore and bloody scenes. However, I was impressed and felt that this film put the concept of a zombie movie into a very different light. The loving relationship between father and daughter is the central theme and it even tends to get melodramatic at a given time. And this in a horror film ?

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