Combustible Celluloid
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With: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Douglas M. Griffin, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Whitman Groves, Jodie Moore, Bryce Romero, Raeden Greer, Aiden Flowers, Carsen Flowers
Written by: John Scott 3
Directed by: Henry Hobson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including bloody images, and some language
Running Time: 95
Date: 05/08/2015

Maggie (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Daughter In Gnaw

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Henry Hobson, a title designer and a director of the Oscar telecast, makes his feature debut with this highly unusual, unexpectedly moving zombie film. He blankets the movie in ominous gray, creating a deadly quiet from which life attempts to spring forth, like the patch of daisies a father shows to his daughter. Hobson gives his characters time to truly contemplate life and death, with time to think and time to be afraid, as well as time to enjoy whatever is left.

During a zombie outbreak, martial law has been enabled, and devoted dad Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) spends two weeks looking for his runaway daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin). He finds her in a hospital, bitten and infected with the zombie virus. Though he's obligated to take her to "quarantine," which is said to be a horrific place, he takes her home. As she grows sicker, and lethal symptoms begin to manifest themselves, she begins the process of saying goodbye to her friends and loved ones. Wade, on the other hand, begins to contemplate the inevitable. When she turns and becomes a deadly, flesh-eating zombie, he will be responsible for dispatching her.

Schwarzenegger was once cast (in Twins) opposite Danny DeVito for comic effect, but here, cast opposite the former Little Miss Sunshine, they form a truly touching chemistry, and the result is the subtlest performance the Terminator star has ever given. Some of the movie's conceits, like the mysterious "quarantine" center, threaten the movie's delicate fabric, but ultimately, Maggie is a surprising zombie movie in which life and death actually means something.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray preserves the grim, post-apocalyptic look and sound of the film and comes with some good stuff. Director Hobson provides a commentary track, there's a studio-produced making-of featurette and a deleted scene, a trailer, and sit-down interviews with director Hobson, writer John Scott 3, and actors Schwarzenegger, Breslin, and Richardson. I kinda love this movie, and it's recommended to anyone who enjoys zombie movies but is sick of the recent onslaught of cheap knockoffs.

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