I heard about Maggie a few months ago, instantly knowing I had to see this movie and that I was going to love it. I’m not the biggest action movie fan, unless that film has Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. But it’s not his action movies that I’m such a big fan. It’s for his few horror films, The Terminator (I will argue that the 1984 classic is a horror film in addition to being one of the best Science Fiction films ever), Predator, and End of Days. Coupled with this newest horror film is a zombie film, you can understand my excitement.
Maggie opens with Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger) picking his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) from a hospital. Maggie had run away from home to the city, where she was bitten. The virus slowly changes those infected into cannibalistic rage zombies over the course of 6-8 weeks. The infected are allowed to return home during that time, but must be sent to Quarantine once symptoms start to show. When they return home Maggie says goodbye to her siblings before they’re sent away by Caroline (Joely Richardson), Wades new wife and Maggie’s stepmother out of fear they might become infected. The rest of the film follows Maggie’s slow and irreversible change, while her father grapples with the realities of what his daughter is becoming and his unwillingness to let her go.
Now, I’m not going to praise the film’s visuals or what in my opinion is Arnold’s best dramatic performance to date or even the musical score. Wait, no, I am. I’m going to do just that. So get ready to hear me singing praises.
First and foremost, Arnold delivers my personal favorite performance to date and that’s saying a whole lot. I’ve been watching his movies since I was a child and can say he’s a master at his craft. But his is not the only performance worthy of my high praises. Abigail Breslin, who’s no stranger to zombie films, having stared in Zombieland. Delivers a strong, but not as nuanced performance as Arnold. The two play well off one another’s energy in ever scene the pair share. I can’t think of a single actor who didn’t do a great job, because they all did. It’s just they’re overshadowed, so a few names how I feel deserve mention are Joely Richardson, Bryce Romero, and Jodie Moore (not to be confused with the pornographic actress of the same name). All three deliver exploratory performance, each worthy of it’s own praise.
The film is incredibly well shot, delivering a sense of vastness and dread. Unlike many films, Maggie pulled me in and held my attention. While much of this is due to the acting and well written script, but as films are a visual medium the cinematography is often equally important and Maggie certainly delivers. Tying into the visuals is the often somber music, which I did find more than once pulling my focus. It wasn’t distracting or unpleasant, it just felt like it was trying to be noticed in situations where subtly would have been preferred.
Final thoughts, I could go on and on about how much I like this movie. But I don’t want to spoil any more than is necessary to get you to go watch it yourself. But even though this is a zombie film and a horror film, it is above all else a drama that is low on gore and if you can accept that going in I don’t foresee any issues thoroughly enjoying this film. 10/10