A New Emotional Level to The Zombie Genre | Review of ‘Maggie’

By Cynthia Ayala

'Maggie' starring Arnold Schwarzenegger & Abigail Breslin Lionsgate Films/Roadside Attractions
‘Maggie’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger & Abigail Breslin
Lionsgate Films/Roadside Attractions

After his daughter is infected with a virus that transforms her into a zombie, a small-town farmer will stop at nothing to save her.


Maggie stars Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father and daughter living in a world where the zombie disease has affected the world in the way it affects most zombie films. But here, the government seem to have a handle on the situation provided that the people follow some simple rules about containment and quarantine. Easy enough, that’s basic Zombie containment 101 for any Zombie film to prevent more outbreaks.

But this film was very low key and focused on the character and family dynamics than it was on the actual zombieness of the film. It was a very low-key film that brought out the emotions of the characters and the viewers. That is the key element that makes this film a good one. It is all about interaction between the characters, all about the dynamics that create the story about a father and daughter, about how to deal with death in a way that makes this a meaningful film. Reading the premise seems to deter most viewers in my experience. It’s not enough to say “hey, watch this film with Arnold Schwarzenegger and zombies”. That sounds ridiculous, but mainly because everyone forgets that Schwarzenegger is more than just an action star, the whole film sounds like it could be a bad action film. And if this was an action film, it would probably be bad.

Thankfully, it’s not. This is a film about a father and daughter coming to terms with death, coming to terms with losing one another. It’s sad, and it is meant to be sad, it’s meant to be emotional and serious and give this genre a new level of depth. There is little to no action in this film and with the synopsis, once again, paints this image that this is going to be a semi-action film with a heartfelt story about a man who is going to protect his zombiefied daughter.

No. That is not what this film is about at all. His daughter is dying and Arnold is tapping into his emotion to just spend whatever time he has left with his dying daughter. There is no trying to save and cure her, there is only the desire to keep her safe, keep her home and when the time comes for her to die-die, he wants to be there for her, not in some quarantine zone where she is going to die surrounded strangers, and not pleasantly.

This is a highly emotional and low-key film that focuses on the goodbye, that focuses on the dying and the way to say goodbye. Again, this is not an action film nor does it have a lot of dialogue, it’s very low-key focusing more on the character dynamics and their body language making it standout film about family, emotion and death, all of which make it stand out amongst the crowd of zombie movies, because Maggie is much more than some zombie movie. (★★★☆ | A)

—Film Credits—

Directed By Henry Hobson

Written by John Scott III

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin & Joely Richardson

Genre | Length | Rating: Drama, Thriller | 1 h 35 min | PG-13

Distributed by Lionsgate Films & Roadside Attractions

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