Maggie (2015)

(On Cable TV, May 2016) As much as I’d like to claim that the zombie subgenre is played-out and should go away, there are always new off-beat ways to approach the same topic. In Maggie, the emphasis is placed on a very low-key family drama set in a post-apocalyptic world, in which a father faces the gradual transformation of his daughter after she’s been infected. It obviously won’t end well, which puts even more importance on the moment-to-moment character journey of the story. Maggie isn’t your usual action-driven horror movie: it’s an extended mourning period, with occasional flashes of danger considering what she is evolving into. The big draw of the film, from a mainstream perspective, is that the role of the father facing the gradual end of his daughter has been given to Arnold Schwarzenegger, here playing a solid man made powerless against what is happening to his child. He does well despite being asked to venture outside his usual persona, but if this is the kind of role that actors cherish, it’s not likely to be considered a must see. Maggie is a quiet, mournful, low-intensity drama and it works at what it does. On the other hand, stretching even a requiem to feature-film length will test the patience of a number of viewers, despite the odd glimpses at a world where zombies have been normalized. Maggie is an average movie, which means that it will work best for those who are already predisposed to the story it means to tell—people outside that group may not find it as compelling.

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