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BY ELIZABETH BANKS
BY PAUL BROOKS
BY MARK MOTHERSBAUGH EXECUTIVE
PRODUCERS SCOTT NIEMEYER JASON MOORE
SUPERVISOR SARAH WEBSTER EXECUTIVE
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© 2014 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
STARTS FRIDAY, MAY 15 CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR
THEATERS AND SHOWTIMES
in zombie drama ‘Maggie’
By LINDSEY BAHR
AP Film Writer
Would you stand by your child if she was
slowly dying of a gruesome and highly con-
tagious illness? That's the central question
that Arnold Schwarzenegger has to face in
Maggie, a terminal illness drama where the
malady at hand involves morphing into a
member of the flesh-eating undead.
Director Henry Hobson's film imagines a
world devastated by zombies — although no
one ever says that word. Instead of turning
to genre conventions, though, Maggie stays
small, intimate, and fascinatingly realistic.
Set in a small Midwestern town, society
is still tenuously functioning amid the break-
out. Hospitals diagnose the afflicted and set
terms for mandatory quarantines before the
diseased turn truly dangerous. The police,
also, are there to enforce. Other institutions,
though, are all but abandoned. Gas stations
are empty and electricity is unreliable.
For many, life continues as normally as
possible. There are no rogue bands of hostile
survivalists competing over bunkers and land
and no massive zombie armies attacking.
Maggie is zombie tale that is more interested
in the microcosm — the effects of the virus on
the family unit and the community, not the
shocks and thrills of an all-out war.
If this seems like a surprising choice for
Schwarzenegger, it is. Even more surprising?
He's pretty great.
The heart of the movie is the relationship
between Wade (Schwarzenegger) and his
teenage daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin).
She's infected and missing when the film
starts, but Wade searches for two weeks to
find her and bring her back to the country
home that he shares with his new wife (Joely
Richardson) and their young children.
There, Wade waits for Maggie to trans-
form, trying to spend as much time with
her as possible in the interim. Maggie,
in turn, fluctuates between all the
emotions of dealing with a life
cut too short — and her
fatal, itchy and grotesque
There are a few
jump scares and horror
movie elements that
help to break up the
tion is punctuated by
frightening visions of
what's to come — even
if it's unclear whether
they're nightmares or
Schwarzenegger's Wade only resorts to vio-
lence when protecting Maggie, and even
those moments seem to be done reluctantly.
His despair is evident in his physicality and
his eyes throughout.
Many of the scenes take place around the
dinner table — some tense, some funny, but
all with the heavy fear of the inevitable hang-
ing over every moment.
Some of the more affecting parts involve
Schwarzenegger weighing his options with
various friends. The horrifying reality is that
death is really the only solution. The “how” is
And yet, for as fascinating as the conceit is
(and as lean as the movie is), the deep emo-
tions at play don't really hit as well as they
should. Part of the problem is the distracting
look of the film. Maggie appears as though it
was shot through a variety of Instagram filters
a dusty grey for the exteriors, and a warm,
oversaturated orange for the interiors. Also,
even at a brisk 95 minutes, the runtime feels
like a stretch.
Maybe Hobson — a title designer in his
feature debut — wasn't going for tearjerker,
Maggie, ultimately, is a fascinating experi-
ment in genre that has captured a side of
Schwarzenegger that the movies have not
seen before — an impressive, exciting and
and of itself.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PINOYEXCHANGE.COM
Maggie (Abigail Breslin) and Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
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