Maggie is a new zombie movie from first time director Henry Hobson. It focuses on the relationship between the main character, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin). Maggie has been infected with a disease of some sort that is causing people to slowly turn into ravenous, cannibalistic zombies. Wade pulls some strings to get Maggie released from the hospital into his custody. As Maggie’s disease progresses, Wade struggles with the decision he knows he will ultimately have to make.
Let me lead off with a positive. This is NOT your typical zombie flick. The movie bravely avoids the same old zombie clichés and establishes itself as its own film. The atmosphere is dark, quiet, methodical, and very effective. The narrative moves at a snail’s pace and breaks the audience down to the same state of hopelessness that the characters are in. This is what the filmmakers did right. Unfortunately they also did quite a bit wrong.
The acting in this film is top heavy. Arnold is good and shows more dramatic acting chops than he probably ever has before. Abigail Breslin is very good in her role, which is far darker than anything she has done. Laura Cayouette is good in a very small role. The rest of the cast was decent at best. Joely Richardson, who played Wade’s wife, was particularly bad. Her performance in this film made me wonder how she ever got a part in a David Fincher project (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
This movie starts out interesting but gets bogged down pretty quick. It is a slow paced film. Very slow, like molasses on a cold day. To make matters worse, nothing much really happens in the movie. There are about two short action sequences, neither of which are very well done, especially considering they involved one of the greatest action stars of all time. The biggest problem here is not the slow pace or the lack of action. The biggest problem is that there is really no suspense because the fact is established early on that there is absolutely no hope. There’s really nothing the characters are trying to accomplish. They are just sitting around watching bad things happen to them. That’s what makes the movie mostly boring.
As the movie approached its end, I had the feeling that the writers had written themselves into a corner. I didn’t see a good potential ending for the film. However, of all the things they could have done with this, they probably did the worst thing possible. The ending here makes little sense and robs the audience of any kind of payoff or satisfaction. It is also too abrupt. It’s like the movie just ends all of a sudden with no real conclusion to it.
I really don’t want to say this is a bad movie, because there was a lot that was done well here. The atmosphere is tremendous. I think Henry Hobson shows promise as a director. The two main actors do a really good job and carry the film through some very long uneventful stretches. For those reasons, I think this movie is worth watching. That being said, it will bore most people to tears. Speaking of tears, this is probably one of the saddest movies I have ever seen. It never lets up and left me feeling totally depressed. It’s not exactly an enjoyable experience. The Movie Man gives it 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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