Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Zombification: Terminal Cancer
Zombies and Arnold Schwarzenegger seems like a match made in heaven – something that would have been epic back in the mid ’90s. Even today, I wouldn’t mind seeing how the man of muscles himself would deal with the walking dead, but as great as that basic concept is, Maggie is much more dramatic and emotionally driven than I thought it would be. The real question is…does a zombie movie work as a drama? We already know it’s not terrible as a comedy, or even romantic comedy – but how about drama?
Maggie centers on the life of Maggie – the daughter of Wade (Schwarzenegger) and coincidentally also was recently diagnosed with a virus that kills the patient and makes them cannibalistic creatures after death…aka zombies. However, the process is really slow – we’re talking several weeks, so her dad decides to take care of her as the zombification process takes effect.
First thing’s first. The movie is really…really…slow. They purposefully do this to really magnify the emotions from, well, everyone in the film as everything transpires. To be fair, the emotions displayed in the movie are done really well – as is the transformation by Abigail Breslin. All of the things that technically happen in the movie are done well – but I can’t exactly say it’s what I wanted to see from the movie. Instead, what this movie resembles instead – is a movie about a girl suffering through terminal cancer – and the family wants nothing more than to make her life the best it could be before her passing. We’ve seen cancer movies before – this is exactly like that – just with a zombie theme…take it or leave it.
I don’t want to say anything bad, because most of the flaws that I found with the film lie with my expectations. My expectations say Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to grab the nearest shotgun and blast away all the zombies as he tries to find a cure for his daughter – but it’s not like that at all. Because of that, I’m starting to question myself as to Schwarzenegger’s overall importance. Could anyone else fill the role? Absolutely. Schwarzenegger is one of a kind, and that just isn’t so with this film. So as far as expectations go…I’m a little disappointed, I have to say.
However, the movie does feel zombie-themed. It’s dark, brooding, and honestly a bit disgusting when it comes to Abigail Breslin decaying for weeks right in front of you. It does a wonderful job displaying some possible scenarios if zombification were actually a thing – and how your body would experience the changes – that was downright the best part of the movie. It’s not everything, mind you, but that’s really the reason that you’re watching. Most movies have people turning to zombies in a matter of minutes, but several weeks? That’s unexplored territory, and for the most part they did a great job with it.
I know I complained about the slowness, but all things considered, this is a father/daughter story. His love for her is really what drives the film. There may be moments where he’s not even in the movie for a short period of time, but his love for his daughter is always center stage.
Here’s where I’m confused – I’m not entirely sure what audience would benefit from this movie the most. You see, it’s deep and emotional – so there are some female audiences that might appreciate that – but it’s also dark and brooding, sometimes really violent…which is more like a guy’s film. These two tones really clash with each other, though, and not in a good way. It’s interesting, to say the least, but I’m not really sure who would benefit from this.
From a technical standpoint, they did a lot of things right – they displayed the emotions and transformation amazingly and creatively.
The two major tones in the film – emotional/deep and dark/brooding/violent – don’t seem to really match up all that well, and any expectations you might have for the movie might leave you a bit disappointed.