Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in a surprising role, one his fans have probably not seen him attempt before. In Maggie, Arnie plays Wade Vogel, a grieving father who is trying to find a way to save his teenaged daughter after she has become infected with the “Necroambulist Virus.” This isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse movie. Viewers who prefer intense horror and gore will probably be disappointed. Maggie is dark and quiet and has more in common with recent young adult tear-jerker tales than it has with a George Romero flick.
But I still liked it. Schwarzenegger shows a poignant sensitivity I didn’t know he was capable of pulling off, and Abigail Breslin’s performance as his suffering daughter, Maggie, is admirable. In most other zombie movies, a person is bitten and turns within minutes or hours. But in this story, the virus takes several weeks to kill its victim.
Vogel has brought his runaway daughter back to their midwestern farm to take care of her, sending his wife and two younger children away to protect them from whatever might happen as Maggie goes through her inevitable transformation. They cling to hope while dealing with the fear and prejudice of neighbors who want Vogel to put Maggie in an institution where the infected are corralled and abandoned to their hideous fate.
Once home again, Maggie reconnects with her ex-boyfriend, Trent, who has also been infected and is closer to the end of his tranformation. Sometimes while watching them together – teens dealing with terminal illness – I couldn’t help but think of The Fault in Our Stars. Emotions run high in nearly every scene. Maggie must confront her own premature demise, and so must her loving father – who dreads what he might be forced to do after the virus takes its toll.
I give Maggie three out of five goblins.
Check back here next month for my review and comparison of Crimson Peak and my favorite gothic ghost story movie, Haunted.