Directed by Henry Hobson
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Wade Vogel, a farmer whose daughter is infected with a zombie virus. Wade is a remarried widower living in a world with a barely controlled zombie pandemic. Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected from a zombie bite on her arm. After being picked up by authorities in some unidentified city, she is sent home with a worried Wade. All that’s left for him to do is watch her die and try to make her as comfortable as he can until the end. Maggie is all Wade has left of his late wife and he does not want to let her go.
Maggie’s story is that of a young woman with a terminal diagnosis who as the disease gets worse, begins to deal with the reality of her situation. Abigail Breslin was the perfect actress for this. In most other hands I don’t think this character would’ve worked as well. She’s a very good actress and is able to bring Maggie to life. She gets you emotionally invested in the character as she says goodbye to her friends and family.
Schwarzenegger puts in some genuine acting here as Wade Vogel. He shows depth and range as a loving and protective father fighting against the inevitable. Arnold was on top of his game for this one even though it’s outside of the action genre that he’s known for. I like that they don’t have him do his usual schtick here. There are no guns blazing and he doesn’t fight armies of enemies to save the day. He’s just trying to get through this terrible moment in his life. He is refusing to accept the tough decisions that he must make just as any father would.
It’s not your typical zombie film. There are no roving hordes of the undead. There are only three zombies in the film. The rest are just those turning. Society hasn’t collapsed but it is barely holding on. The zombie plague (called necroambulism in the film) is not limited to just humans but can apparently infect animals and even crops. Towards the beginning of the film Schwarzenegger must burn some of his crops that have become diseased.
It doesn’t seem to get the attention that it deserves. This fusion of family drama and zombie film seems forgotten by fans of Schwarzenegger and of zombie films. Maggie is a very emotional film that really hits you as you get to know Wade, his daughter Maggie and the world as it has become. Even though a zombie apocalypse is a fantastical idea they handle it realistically here. They keep it very grounded in how things would work. It’s a very good story with very good performances. If you’re a fan of the zombie film and haven’t seen this, you should. If you are a fan of good family drama and haven’t seen this, you should. You will enjoy it.