It's no surprise that we have come accustomed to only thinking about head shots and flesh munching when it comes to zombies thanks to the genre's explosion in pop culture over the last decade. Can you blame society? Zombie outbreaks and our fight to contain the terror is very entertaining. The human side of these fictitious epidemics are often brushed over. Your little brother got bit. No problem. Take him outback and shoot him. For some reason I don't think disposing of a loved one would be that easy.
The new film Maggie's take on the zombie genre is a heartbreaking tale of a terminal diagnosis and a father hanging on to hope. The film stars Abigail Breslin as the title character who has fallen victim to a zombie bite while society is holding on by a thread. In this outbreak scenario, the government allows the infected to go home for two weeks so they can say their goodbyes before heading to permanent quarantine. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Maggie's father Wade who has no intentions on handing Maggie over to be put to sleep like a dog.
Don't expect any zombie fights with crossbows or samurai swords in Maggie. The outbreak and it's effects are present in this desolate post virus world, but don't expect hordes of zombies getting bombed with napalm in the streets. Maggie is a quiet, yet meaningful story of the dead rising. It reminded me more of a medical thriller with Maggie's life deteriorating and Wade risking his family's well-being keeping her around. Breslin gives a somber performance of a girl who knows her days on this earth are numbered and feels the pain she will cause her loved ones when decisions have to be made. Maggie takes a focused look at the mindset of individuals when the monster is sleeping under their own roof.
Maggie shows that making this decision to stop the spreading of the disease at all costs would not be an easy one especially through the performance of none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the best acting job I've witnessed from the Governor since T2. It's a very subdued performance considering Arnold's past work, but he is excellent as a man holding onto a foolish dream that everything will work out. It's a shame many will pass over Schwarzenegger's performance, but those who do check out Maggie will be impressed even with the film's bleak subject matter. It's dark premise is likely one of the reasons the studio went for VOD release. The masses probably wouldn't know what to think of a tearful zombie flick in the middle of May.
Overall, I give Maggie 3 out of 4 depressing, but thought-provoking stars.
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