Welcome horror and Indie film fans! Old Man Feind was able to catch something new and it’s an Arnie film where he actually acts???? What!?!
Did you ever think you’d see Arnold Schwarzenegger in a zombie movie? If you did, didn’t you think it would be some version of Conan the Barbarian or Terminator meets 28 Days Later? Well if that’s what you wanted then Maggie isn’t for you. If you love small Indie films that are story driven, well acted, well written and minus giant hordes of zombies then Maggie may be custom made for you. I can honestly say this may be the best performance Arnold has ever given in any movie and offhand I can’t think of another small Indie film he has done. Anyone? Well kudos if you can because I just scrolled through his IMDb credits and I didn’t see one. So kudos to Arnie for doing an Indie! Now what is Maggie all about?
Maggie just came out in theaters so I will keep this spoiler free since I really want to encourage you to catch it in the theater if you’re able. To start, Maggie (Abigail Breslin, who you may recognize as Mel Gibson’s daughter in the excellent Signs) is the daughter of Wade (Arnold). The movie begins with Maggie wandering the streets after running away from home to protect her father, Wade, after she is bitten on the arm. As Wade searches we get the information about the viral outbreak (via radio broadcasts) that has swept across America (I’m assuming the globe but it doesn’t really matter). You don’t need much info if you’ve ever seen any zombie movie ever and thankfully we get a writer in John Scott 3rd who gets that. In Maggie there is a difference from every other zombie movie you’ve ever seen (just one of the differences) in that the outbreak is under control by government to as much of an extent as it can be. Maggie isn’t a world of all out chaos with hordes of zombies everywhere so if that is what you want you’re in the wrong movie.
Wade picks Maggie up at a hospital she has been taken to after being found on the street and we learn that the virus takes about 8 weeks to turn the living into the walking dead. Maggie is about one family’s struggle to deal the eventuality of a loved one turning into something dangerous and not quite human. They try to enjoy the last few weeks they will have together which is a tall order when dealing with a teenager who is healthy let alone one who knows her grim fate. The infected are taken to quarantine camps which is a fate no one wants as it’s explained they are basically free-for-all areas for the infected to die and/or be killed in. It’s bad enough if your loved one turns into a flesh eating zombie but the thought of them being thrown into a pit of inhumanity is not something anyone wants. When Wade has to handle a neighbor who kept her family hidden away so they wouldn’t be taken to quarantine Maggie’s eventual fate is brought into harsh reality.
If you’re expecting fast paced action and lots of zombie killing there are literally hundreds of other movies for you to watch so you won’t find that in Maggie which I found very refreshing. This is a fairly slow paced thriller that’s all about Maggie’s infection and eventual turn and how this family tries to handle this somber reality. I was honestly amazed to see Arnie in a film like this and it made me think, “Why the fuck doesn’t he do more films like this?” Seriously, you’ll see Arnold in a whole new light in this one. Maggie isn’t about Arnold’s brawn, it’s about a father struggling with the fact that he may have to kill his own daughter or let her be taken away to quarantine which may be even worse. There is also the strained relationship of Maggie and her step mother Caroline (Joely Richardson) who replaced her birth mother who apparently died some years prior. It’s the family dynamic that is the heart of this film. The first half of the film felt a little more like Wade’s story than Maggie’s but the second half is all about Maggie and her struggle with the disease she knows will end her life one way or another. When her infected boyfriend is taken off by force to quarantine her own fate is put into stark reality for her. She wants Wade to kill her but could you kill your own daughter?
Finally at long last we get a different kind of zombie movie that isn’t about surviving hordes of roving zombies. I love a good zombie killing flick as much as anyone but come on it does get a little old and with such a good survivor story on The Walking Dead I don’t need another dozen zombie movies (and more and more). Maggie handles this by narrowing the focus to really just this one family and this one case of an infected person. Enough is shown so you know the damage the disease has reaped like when Wade and Maggie stop at a grocery store that is all but empty. All you need to know about the scale of the outbreak is shown in that one little scene and thankfully first time director Henry Hobson and writer John Scott 3rd didn’t do what most movies in this genre do which is beat you over the head with it. Outside of a few scenes Maggie could have been about any pandemic situation whether it’s this zombie virus or the bird flu, it doesn’t really matter because the world is shrunken down to this one family’s struggle in the world of this pandemic. Also kudos to Hobson for getting such depth out of Arnold in this film. I only hope Arnie chooses to do more films like this instead of those awful Expendables hunks of garbage (sorry if you’re a fan I really hate those films). I really can’t heap enough praise on this film so hopefully you get out to the theater and catch this one to Support Indie Film! The only knock I can put against this film is that it’s a little slowly paced but it fit this film perfectly so I really can’t knock it too hard for that since it easily passed The Scribbler Clock Test. I’d give it a near perfect 4.5 out of 5 bloody eyeballs wide open because I think Maggie is…
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Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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