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Maggie
Genre Drama
 
Review:

Maggie isn't not a traditional zombie movie... it's more of an art house zombie drama. There are no car chases across a post-apocalyptic America of zombie hordes and for the most part, everything takes place in one location. The pacing is slow, the style is understated to a fault, the focus is on drama and it has an independent spirit.

The other thing you'll notice about Maggie is Arnold Schwarzeneggar. We know and love the unmistakable "last action hero" and are used to him making fun of himself in comedies and blowing stuff up in action movies. In Maggie however, he's trying a dramatic role on for size and while he's experienced at playing fathers and getting dead serious... it's just weird to see Arnie being anything less than superhuman.

You get the impression that he's changing direction to break type and spread his range to include Clint Eastwood type tough old guy roles. Eastwood's getting on and there aren't as many Hollywood tough guys to brandish a sawn-off shotgun at young hoodlums in Hollywood as there used to be. While it's not a typical Arnie movie, he actually does surprisingly well, reeling in the star power and going for something much more down-to-earth and vulnerable... yes, he even sheds tears. While Arnie's the main attraction, the titular character is played by Abigail Breslin. Maggie's like a teen malady movie in the way the zombie affliction is treated like a degenerative disease. As Maggie's symptoms get worse, she starts to change and the dramatic tension rests with how long local law enforcement and her immediate family are able to accommodate her, and what will become of her once she goes full zombie... sort of like a home school Ginger Snaps.

Breslin is a talented actress, but she's going through that awkward child actor to adult actor phase. For the first half of the film, she wears sunglasses and lurks around a dimly lit house. It really distances you from the character, who just seems self-occupied and unreachable. While this definitely alienates us, she seems to get more and more comfortable with the performance.

It's a slow-burning drama that moves sluggishly, and gradually improves as you warm to the characters. For many, watching the movie for Arnie's involvement will make them feel cheated. The art house angle and commercial casting makes it one of those grey area movies. You'll be more predisposed to enjoying it if you liked the poetic, melancholic and bleak tone of films like The Road or The Grey.

Maggie is refreshingly ambitious and you can see what they were trying to achieve. While it does build tension in an unassuming way, it's just too slow-moving and depressing to be entertaining. The performances are reasonable, the production values are good and you can live with the dim lighting, but Maggie's biggest flaw is that it's bland and doesn't really push hard enough in any one direction.

The bottom line: Bleak

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