Don’t let the title of this film fool you. This is not a romantic comedy or a children’s film. On the contrary, this is a dark drama that uses society on the brink of collapse due to a zombie apocalypse as its stage. And where the title can be misleading, the scope and direction of this film are blatantly evident. The resulting movie is a dramatic masterpiece of grand design.
If you are not familiar with MAGGIE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, and Joely Richardson star in this post-apocalyptic thriller set against the backdrop of a deadly epidemic. As the nation reels from a lethal virus that turns its victims into zombies, Wade’s (Schwarzenegger) daughter, Maggie (Breslin), has been infected. Now, as Maggie’s condition worsens, Wade will stop at nothing to protect her from the authorities seeking to kill her to eradicate the virus.
I loved this movie from the opening scenes, and I would go so far as to state it’s one of the better zombie films I’ve seen this year. It is full of dark overtones, and it makes the viewer think about morality in several aspects. Director Henry Hobson skillfully blends drama with terror, and the finished product is a movie worthy of applause.
MAGGIE is shot very well and looks great onscreen. The imagery is not bright and vibrant, but more dull and lifeless…which fits the tone of the film perfectly. It is meant to be that way, and in turn, the movie has an edgier, grittier feel to it.
The acting is superb. I’ve heard many people claim Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot act, but I’ve always disagreed. This film showcases his wide emotional range. He is more than just an action star…he’s an actual person with a dramatic sense about him. Likewise, Abigail Breslin does an excellent job with her role as well. She personifies a typical teen, trying to be like others while she’s dying (literally) on the inside.
The special effects in MAGGIE are top notch as well. The makeup used for the infected is very realistic and creepy. Along those same lines, the zombie effects are awesome as well. I particularly like how the eyes of the zombies are darkened; they look soulless and evil.
If I were forced to find a flaw with MAGGIE, I might have to mention it is a bit slow at times. Granted, it’s more of a drama than a horror flick, however the plot almost crawls at a couple of points. But the film clocks in at only 95 minutes in length, so these moments are few and far between.
MAGGIE is a big win for me, and I highly recommend it. This is not a traditional zombie movie, so don’t expect to see scores of the living dead hunting people down. But there are plenty of chills and frights for horror fans. Be sure to check it out on Blu-ray, so you can experience the HD picture and sound. The film will be available next week, so make a note.