With today's over saturation of zombie everything (movies, comics, jewellery, clothing, TV series, novels, cupcakes.... You name it, there's a zombie version of it), it's nice to see a film that brings something fresh and new to the genre. "Maggie" manages to create a thoughtful, emotive film with a different feel to the usual guts and gore zombie feature.
Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) is stuck in the city during a semi-post-apocalyptic time. Most of the country has been ravished by a terrible virus which slowly turns its victims into the shambling, decaying dead. Those infected, like Maggie, are being rounded up and placed in quarantine, a happy place where the diseased and dying can frolic together, being chomped on by those in a more progressed condition than themselves. Fun, fun.
Maggie's dad, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger, in what is a very different role for him, but he still gets to get all badass on a few zombies here and there), finds her and takes her out to the country to stay with his wife, Caroline (Joely Richardson).
There Maggie is to live out her remaining days before the infection worsens and then she is to be taken to the dreaded quarantine area. She mostly spends her time hanging with friends, some of whom are also infected, feeling sorry for herself and occassionally chopping off a few rotting appendages or accidentally killing wildlife... You know, the usual.
But the good times must end at some point, and Maggie and Wade have to make a decision...
A really interesting film, it manages to create solid characters and relationships and still have a few gory scenes to keep it moving. It is a very slow burning plot, however, and definitely doesn't fall completely into the 'horror' basket; I'd label it as more of a thriller myself. But it does benefit from very good effects and makeup. One criticism I would have is that the film is so dark that the full gory beauty of the effects can not be fully realised.
Schwarzenegger creates a very gritty, realistic and endearing character with a lot of depth. You really feel his pain, and the film plays out as more of a study on all the characters' emotions than it does about zombies. Abigail Breslin equally portrays the doomed teen character with a lot of realism and emotion. Her situation is palpable and you truly feel a part of her horrific journey.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film despite its very slow pace. It wasn't my usual kind of film at all, but it was a pleasantly serious take on the genre and something different to watch.
[Image: Grindstone Entertainment Group]