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Maggie

What She said:

She
He Said, She Said Review Site
Maggie

It seems like all the zombie hoopla on TV and in the movies has died down (pun intended) somewhat of late, but the film Maggie still managed to claw its way to the big screen, albeit with a limited release and a concurrent run on Amazon. And so, even though this film had all the makings of a decent flick--it stars "The Arnold" and little Abigail Breslin--I still approached it with a certain measure of trepidation. I'm glad that I set my expectations low because, even though this wasn't the worst movie ever, it still was not what I anticipated.

Maggie tells the story of the Vogel family and the film's namesake, Maggie Vogel. Maggie has become infected with a zombie virus, and has been given a limited amount of human time to live. In the world we're introduced to, zombies are constantly on the roam, and are very dangerous, and yet humans continue to have a foothold and a fairly normal society still exists. When a person is bitten, they're treated in a hospital, and then are free to return home, so long as they agree to regular check-ups with a doctor. The transformation to flesh-eating zombie can take weeks, and once the former humans reach that point, they are taken away to quarantine where they are killed. Some choose to kill themselves at home.

Maggie's father, Wade, comes to retrieve her from the hospital, and brings her home to live out the rest of her human days back on the family farm. Maggie has a stepmother, Caroline, and two younger siblings. The kids are sent away to stay with other family out of caution, but Caroline stays to be with Wade and Maggie. The three attempt to continue a normal existence while Maggie's condition deteriorates. The film chronicles Maggie's final days, as she transitions, and Wade's dilemma, as he becomes aware that he will have to make some grave decisions in the days ahead. Will he have the heart to do what's right for Maggie when the fateful day arrives?

Conceptually, Maggie had a strong foundation. I liked the thought process on this one. But it was just so...darn...slow. And not in a "I fell asleep" sort of way--maybe I just wasn't tired enough--but in a "my eyes are wandering around the room searching for something more interesting" sort of way. I get it, the film was trying to be super nuanced, dwelling on the simple beauty of a father-daughter relationship. But truly not that much happened during this film. I kind of knew where this was going from start to finish. Girl gets bit, girl begins to transition, girl continues to transition, girl's parents begin to smell like food to her, dad realizes girl is past that point-of-no-return and struggles with the thought of having to knock her off. Thats about it. Ok, so I'll admit there's a nice little twist at the end, which is why when someone asks me about this film I'll simply state, "Well, I liked the ending." But otherwise, this one was paced soooooo lethargically.

Maggie

The acting was OK. Abigail Breslin is pretty much a vet, and so she handles Maggie with ease. Arnold Schwarzenegger is who he is, and I expected about what I got from him. I actually felt that Joely Richardson as Caroline was the weakest link here. Her performance felt forced and inauthentic to me, as if she was not particularly interested in the material she was being given to work with.

Visually the movie is fine. It fits the genre, although it feels about as drab and dull as the storyline. It doesn't help, but it also does not hinder. What really hinders Maggie is its painfully slow pacing. Overall, I did not feel that the concept or content of this movie was deep enough to warrant the treatment that it was given. With more interesting characters and more introspective relationships, this film probably would have been an interesting watch. But without the appropriate depth and a story that moves like molasses, I'm afraid that Maggie just did not do it for me. It's a shame, too, because I did think that there was a decent amount of promise here.

Thumbs down.

Maggie

 

What He said:

He

It would be fair to say that zombies are everywhere. TV, movies, books, video games, comic books – and just about every other aspect of pop culture – is overrun with zombies. Overrun… get it? It is also probably fair to say that this particular subgenre of horror is being overused.

Maggie

I like to consider myself a rational person and believe that just because something is overdone doesn’t mean all works that fall under the subgenre are bad. It’s like remakes. People rant and rave about how Hollywood is out of ideas. Are there a lot of remakes? Yes. Are there probably too many? No argument there. But if you think they are all bad, you haven’t seen enough of them, because some of the best TV on right now are remakes, reboots, or spinoffs (Bates Motel, Better Call Saul, and Hannibal for example). That – and the fact that this movie looked at the zombie genre from a different angle – is why I was interested in Maggie.
Maggie is about a young woman (Abigal Breslin) who is turning into a zombie and how both she and her family have to cope with that fact. You see, in this world the zombie plague – known as the Necroambulist virus – doesn’t turn you immediately or even within a few hours. It appears to take weeks, if not months. So, to say it takes a psychological toll on people is putting it mildly.

This movie reminds me a bit of The Road in a number of ways.  One of the things that it has in common with The Road is that the initial disaster already happened and we don’t know how it started. We do know that the people in this movie have it a little better than those in The Road.  Society is not doing great, but it hasn’t completely broken down yet. Though fractured, the government still exists and has a plan in place for those infected by the Necroambulist virus.

A part of that plan involves quarantining those who are infected and when the time comes injecting them with a combination of medications that will put them out of their misery. Maggie (Breslin) has landed herself in one of the quarantine zones after breaking curfew. She calls her father to tell him she’s in the hospital, but tells him not to come for her, as her fate is unavoidable.

Maggie

Perhaps it is because he is played be Arnold, but Wade will not stand for this. He’s got some connections to a local doctor and is able to get into the hospital to bring Maggie home. However, the doctor warns him that her fate is sealed and when the time comes he must bring her back a quarantine zone.

Wade and Maggie return home to be with the rest of their family. Life at home is not easy. Food is in short supply, there are curfews and other restrictions – like burning your crops to kill any potential threats from the virus – and some neighbors even succumb to the virus. There are threats all around them.  

Ray’s wife Caroline is also concerned (naturally) about having Maggie in the house.  She (Joely Richardson) is worried about their safety, particularly their younger children. Caroline is Maggie’s stepmother and the two younger kids are hers with Wade. Time passes on, there are a couple of incidents, and she tells Ray something has to be done with Maggie. Wade gets a little defensive and accuses Caroline of not caring about Maggie as much as Bobby and Molly; because she is not her biological mother. There isn’t a huge blow up or anything, but Caroline does leave with the younger kids for her sisters.
Wade decides to stay behind with Maggie and wait it out. During this time, he gets a couple of visits from the local police, warning him that something needs to be done and done soon. The sheriff is willing to give him time, but tension is mounting between Wade and one of the deputies. Will Wade do the right thing and turn his daughter over to the authorities when the time comes or will he put up a fight with them when they come for her?

Most of the movie is spent building up to that particular moment. That’s arguably its biggest flaw. This movie is almost all build up, perhaps a little too much build up. Not a lot happens in this movie. There is mounting tension and hints at what is to come, but not a lot actually happens. That’s my only real issue with the movie.

Maggie

I thought the acting was fine. The she seems pretty down on it, but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the acting at all. It was a character study about people faced with a horrible situation and how they handle it. Wade knows Maggie is going to turn, but can’t seem to come to turns with it, while Caroline is ready to do the logical thing for the sake of the rest of her family. I thought Arnold gave a pretty good performances – arguably one of his best. Maggie is the one going through this and has to watch herself turn into this monster. Even her friends have to cope with it, as we see her go out for one last night on the town with them. There’s actually some good scenes with one of her friends (played by Bryce Romero) who is also turning into a zombie. I thought his scenes were pretty depressing (and well-acted).

This movie also had the right look. Everything looked appropriately bleak and depressing. The environment, the actors, all of it looked appropriate given the context.

I actually liked this movie a fair amount, but I definitely have to take points off for a lack of action. And by action, I don’t mean the kind of stuff you see in a typical Arnold movie. I’m talking about actual events or issues. This movie is almost all buildup. There’s a lot of sitting around and trying to deal with this situation. There’s no doubt in my mind that something like this takes a huge psychological toll on someone – and the movie shows that – but the movie could have benefitted from something a little more storyline wise.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 17, 2015.

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