Film Festival Movie Review

Film Review: MAGGIE: Schwarzenegger Gets Serious in Zombie Drama [Tribeca 2015]

Maggie (2015) Film Review from the 14th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie directed by Henry Hobson, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette, Dana Gourrier, Amy Brassette, Raeden Greer, John L. Armijo, Denise Williamson, Mattie Liptak, Taylor Ashley Murphy, Aiden Flowers, Wayne PéreJ.D. Evermore, and Douglas M. Griffin.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has done many action movies over the years but in this particular film, he is not your ordinary hero. In Henry Hobson’s feature debut Maggie, there aren’t any explosions, flying bullets, or any stunt scenes. Instead, Schwarzenegger’s Wade is fighting to keep his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) alive as long as possible after getting a zombie infection.

Maggie isn’t like most zombie dramas where people are usually fighting for their lives and killing the undead. This film gives us the slow and painful transformation of a girl turning into a zombie and questions whether the people around her have the courage to put her out of her misery. The film really brought a change of pace for both the actor and the material.

When the film starts, Maggie has been missing for two weeks and Wade finds her at a hospital after a desperate search. However, the doctors tell him that Maggie has been bitten by a zombie and is only given a certain amount of time before she is turned into one of the undead. Wade has three options: Turn her in to the authorities for quarantine, give a lethal injection to hopefully slow the turning, or just give her a quick death. Refusing to give up on her, Wade decides to take her home and care for her himself.

The drama goes deeper when Maggie’s condition gets worse and worse with each passing day. Maggie gets some nasty side effects like her skin wearing off, her limbs growing looser and she vomits whatever she eats. As Wade tries to console his daughter, Maggie’s stepmother Caroline (Joely Richardson) and her two young children try to keep their distance, while the rest of the town grow weary and paranoid. An attack by zombies near the farm was one of the horrific scenes that grew moments of terror, but it also foreshadows the fate that awaits Maggie. The rest of the film becomes moody and dark with the father and daughter staying together until the moment of truth in the film’s final minutes.

Despite the brooding scenes over much of the film, the narrative also moves to Maggie’s perspective where we see her trying to live her life by partying with friends and those who where infected. Breslin has come a long way from films like Little Miss Sunshine, and now we see her as this tormented teen trying the keep it together before she succumbs into the monster she soon becomes. The movie explores Maggie’s own journey as much as it focuses on the one her father must undergo.

Maggie gives a mix of horror and drama, but it mostly falls into the latter as we see Schwarzenegger in a role that we have never seen before in his career. He looks much older and rough, but he looks much like an outsider given that Hobson doesn’t give us much of a background on how an Austrian ended up living on a farm. Everything else stands out as the first melodrama in Schwarzenegger’s career as an actor. Schwarzenegger delivers a powerful performance despite not throwing any punches as it matches with the tone of the film.

Hobson successfully brings in a compelling drama set in the zombie apocalypse as we focus on the tragedy that about to happen. With a film that settles on the heavy burden of someone close being infected with the zombie virus, some scenes suffer from staleness. Nonetheless, the story still keeps the haunting element in play thanks to the gripping performances by the cast. The film is beautifully shot in New Orleans with the grim setting of the zombie outbreak.

The premise of Maggie and Schwarzenegger may seem familiar to most people, but it does give a fresh outlook on the zombie drama as a whole. The movie does a fine job examining what people will do to keep their loved ones alive when crisis strikes and the inevitable changes one must face. The same can go with Schwarzenegger’s career as he makes the change to dramatic roles with hopes to see what else he can do in the future.

Rating: 7/10

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About the author

Mufsin Mahbub

Mufsin is a freelance writer from New York who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Long Island University. He has written for publications like HollywoodLife, Clubplanet, and Heavy. He is an avid lover for everything related to TV and film. He has gone to dozens of film screenings, press events, and loves to attend New York Comic Con every year. He gives an honest opinion on every TV show or film that people are going to be talking about.

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