Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin star in this horror-drama about Maggie, a teenage girl who becomes infected by a disease that slowly turns the aforementioned infected into flesh-craving zombies. As she goes through this transformation, protective and caring father Wade (Schwarzenegger) stays by her side and stops neighbors and police officers from causing harm to his daughter as he himself must decide if whether to send Maggie to quarantine or give her a cocktail of drugs that will give her a peaceful death.
Way more about dealing with the inevitable loss of a loved one than it is Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting off zombies, Maggie actually has a lot of emotional depth in it. Arnie isn’t the usual gun-toting action hero we have grown accustomed to him being – although he does re-kill a few undead – instead playing a loving father who just wants to care for his daughter. There are some hard-hitting scenes in this movie too, given extra weight by the incredible acting from Schwarzenegger and Breslin.
One that sticks in mind is when Maggie goes out to the woods and sees a pair of zombies approaching her, one a man and one a little girl. Wade has no choice but to step in and kill the pair. Later that night he is confronted by the mother/wife of the dead and it is heartbreaking to see the loss she has suffered. Wade knows he too will have to face this later on and the knowledge of that is crushing for both him and the audience.
And this isn’t your usual fast-acting, World War Z zombie virus either. After infection it takes a person days to turn, and the transition is a slow one. Maggie looks completely normal even 24 hours after being bitten, and she slowly starts to turn paler, her eyes lose color, veins become more pronounced and her appetite goes. At times it feels like this zombie virus is used as a more alluring way to show the tragedies of terminal illness. You feel like they could’ve changed it from a zombie bite to cancer, from quarantine to chemo, and the crux of the story would still be largely unchanged.
As great as a lot of these elements are I ultimately can’t quite give the movie a “WATCH IT” rating because it meanders far too often. But I highly highly recommend that you stream Maggie and be as emotionally impacted by the story as I was.