In an attempt to strip down the zombie genre, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin star in Maggie, a film about a father who is faced with the inevitable death and subsequent undead transformation of his daughter. Directed by Henry Hobson, Maggie is a gloomy acting vehicle for Schwarzenegger but nothing else worthy of our time.
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.
Directed by Henry Hobson, who until now has been known for title sequence design, Maggie suffers from a sense of aimlessness and ambition to stray as far away from the typical zombie genre tropes so much so that it suffers because of it. Just because an indie film is an indie film, doesn’t mean you have to be boring simply because it’s the cool thing to do.
In a world that seems post-near-apocalyptic in a sense that the zombie outbreak is under control and treated as an illness while some order remains in tact is a clever enough concept but all of the exciting ideas presented to us — such as the horrifying tale of quarantine camps — never come to fruition. Instead the audience is stuck with a story that drags its feet until a conclusion that is super unsatisfying.
Schwarzenegger does an incredible job in Maggie – in fact this may be one of his best performances of all time. I’m truly angry that this great character just happens to be stuck in a story that not once, tries to go anywhere exciting. Not once. Breslin does an OK job playing the young girl who knows her time is running out as she begins to decay, but I couldn’t sympathize with her at all and therein lays the problem. If I can’t feel sorry for Maggie, then who gives a fuck? I sure don’t.
When you spend an entire movie being sad that this girl will eventually turn into a cannibalistic undead monster, you sure as hell best make me emotional. I ended up feeling worried for Maggie’s stepmother and her kids and I don’t think that was supposed to be the result. This teenage half zombie is dangerous dude – get her the hell into the barn so she doesn’t eat the siblings. Snap out of it Arnold!
Maggie is a test of suspense and dread, with very little action to keep us awake during the quiet moments. Speaking of quiet – they do this thing here where in order to convey just how serious in tone Maggie is – everybody speaks in a near whisper. Why the hell is everybody whispering? It’s like Hobson’s direction was – “OK you’re super sad so I want you to turn it down until you’re barely audible so let’s shut up and do this – Quiet everybody!” And be quiet they did – every goddamn one of them. Maybe that’s why Arnold stood out so much, because even at his quietest, his volume level is still leaps and bounds above regular humans.
I don’t need a ton of action in my zombie film, hell I don’t need any, but if you’re not going to deliver in that sense then I expect you to give me something else substantial instead. Maggie is an overdrawn, gloomy and emotionless piece of shit that does nothing but showcase just how good of an actor Schwarzenegger actually is. The same thing happened with the dreadful Sabotage. Arnold was at the top of his game in that one too but every other single element was garbage and that’s a damn shame.