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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Movie Review: Maggie

Knowing your child doesn't have long to live, how do you spend the time they have left? In May 2015, Wade had to watch as his daughter's death slowly changed her into something else.

Directing this 95 minute drama/horror/thriller is Henry Hobson.

Dealing with the living and the dead is: Arnold Schwarzenegger as Wade Vogel, Abigail Breslin as Maggie Vogel, Joely Richardson as Caroline Vogel, Douglas M. Griffin as Ray, J.D. Evermore as Holt and  Jodie Moore as Doctor Vern Kaplan.

After most of the world has been hit by the Necroambulist virus, everyone is trying to clean up what's left in the chaos. Occasional people are still being infected, so quarantine camps have been set up to
deal with the infected as they reach the end stages of the virus. This virus is unlike anything we've seen before, because it slowly turns the living into... zombies. Unfortunately, Maggie Vogel, a teenage girl from the Midwest, is infected. Her father, Wade, is desperately searching for her when he gets word that Maggie is in one of the infected hospital wards. As a favor to Wade he is able to take Maggie back home to spend what time she has left with her family.

Now, before I found out what this film was about I heard 6 words that tickled my action packed funny bone and made me all giddy inside. Schwarzenegger is doing a zombie film! As I sat in my chair bouncing around like a fiend that just started mainlining Red Bull and snorting pixie stixs, I imagined some sort of genetically enhanced mix between Resident Evil (2002) and Predator (1987), minus the alien - just all the shooting. Then I found out what it was about, and as all sugar high rides go I came crashing down like a 747 full of elephants and was left with a feeling like somebody just kicked my basket full of puppies.

(Quick side note, you're probably wondering about that plane and why it was full of elephants. Well, all I can say is you see strange things when you're all hopped up and walking with the sugar cane. Just say NO to sugar, boys and girls!)

So, here we go. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new film for us, and thanks to writer John Scott 3, this time Arny has decided to step out of his usual action packed comfort zone. This time Arny has left all the shoot outs and explosions at home to step up and show us a... softer side. The story tries to go a different route than most of the usual zombie flicks out now. This one starts up after the virus has hit the world and is already dealing with the clean up. Unfortunately, it's getting harder to find a "different" way to bring a zombie film to the table of entertainment for the fans to feast on. It focuses on dealing with the trauma leftover from the zombie situation, and the impact it's left on a single family. I will say, Scott 3 did throw out a few interesting things, like for one, the virus affecting the crops, but that's a passing mention and then it's back to the family.
                                                                   

The playthrough, due to the story content, is a slow burn. It's pretty good, don't get me wrong, but the slow pace made it a bit hard to hold my attention at times. It's made to slowly unravel and showcase all the feelings you don't normally get to see dealt with in an action-packed zombie flick. Even though a family member has been bitten, and you know the "turning" time is coming, in most flicks the scene is quickly flooded with feelings and... (BOOM) dealt with. Here, they stretch that scene out and turn it into a feature length film that's filled with flash backs, good visuals and heartfelt dialog. You know, everything you want in a zombie flick. Something to keep in mind with this one is it's rated PG-13, so don't go expect tons of blood and gore, because you won't find any of that here. Not all, but most of the violent scenes happen just off camera making you fill in the blanks.

One thing I have to say, in all honesty and without any sarcastic (typing) tones, the cast was great! Yeah, even Schwarzenegger. Is he getting a Grammy for this one? Um, no, but I saw an acting side of him I didn't know he had. Whereas, Arny usually almost drops a manly tear and then transfers his feelings onto others by pulling the trigger and making all the bad guys go bye-bye.  Here, he shows that pain, and yes... even some tears, believe it or not. Arny's character is a father watching as he's slowing losing his daughter to a virus and there's nothing he can do to help his little girl. While dealing with the struggle the situation is causing between him and his wife. Breslin also does a great job showing the turmoil a teen is facing when knowing she's going to die. All the things she will never get to do, and the things she could do to her family when she turns. Last was Richardson, who plays a mom that's concerned with what's happening with her daughter, but also has to keep in mind the threat this has on the rest of her family.
                                                         

The special effects looked good, and the cinematography work by Lukas Ettlin caught some great visuals that helped patch together scenes and feelings to keep the film moving along during the transitions.

This one had a budget of $4.5 million, and only pulled in $ 131,175 (opening weekend).  As of May 14, 2015 it's pulled in another $46,477. Not the kind of numbers you would expect from a  Schwarzenegger flick. Sadly, if it wasn't for Schwarzenegger being in the cast I don't think this one would have done as well as it has because of it's limited theatrical release along with it's VOD (video on demand) release. I think part of the problem was people found out what the film was about didn't expect much and passed on it early. Also limited releases never help any films.

Overall, no this is not your typical Schwarzenegger film. I see only the true die hard Arny and zombie fans (that will watch anything with a zombie in it) catching this one... and then I see them being disappointed. However, if you've got time to burn and you're looking for a more drama based zombie flick, here you go. Just wait for when it hits a rental spot. Last time I checked Red Box was like a $1.00 to rent stuff. Hit it then and if you liked it awesome, if not... well, it was less than a cup of coffee.

It's rated PG-13 for violence

2 stars


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