zombie apocalypse has come, but the everyday mundane rituals of life continue. For
instance, NPR is still broadcasting (and providing exposition), which is about
as dull and trivial as life gets. The cities are like demilitarized zones, but
those who reside in the countryside continue on relatively undisturbed—unless one
of their family members is infected. A rugged Iowa farmer with an Austrian
accent must deal with his daughter’s painful transition, ominously known as “the
turn,” in Henry Hobson’s Maggie (trailer here), opening this
Friday in New York, following its world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
many infected teens, Maggie Vogel ran off to the big city rather than putting
her family through the pain of her turn. Checking into one of the nightmarish government
field hospitals is not an option, but unfortunately that is where she is
forcibly detained until her father finds her. While she is still lucid, she
will have time to make her goodbyes to family and friends, but it clearly will
not be easy.
always adored her twin step-brother and step-sister and got on reasonably well
with her step-mother. However, Caroline Vogel’s top priority is clearly protecting
the twins, which creates friction with Wade. The local sheriff and his jerkweed
deputy are also anxious to whisk Maggie back into custody, but it is hard argue
with a man the size of Wade Vogel, who is holding a shotgun. Vogel obviously
intends to cling to every last hope and does not care what some county employee
thinks about it. However, Maggie Vogel is only too aware of the reality of her
situation, because she can see it in the mirror.
have already been a number of anti-genre deconstructions of the zombie film,
such as BBC America’s post-zombie cure series In the Flesh and the Canadian feature The Returned, so Maggie’s focus
on the intimate human drama of the zombie uprising is not so unusual anymore.
Still, Hobson (the title design for The Walking Dead) and screenwriter John Scott 3 carve out a small niche, where
zombies are contained (more or less), but not cured. Still, what makes Maggie work so well is the first rate
it or not, that starts with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is finally the sort of
film he should be pursuing for his post-politics return to the big screen. Let’s
face it, he was a disappointing governor who just continued all the fiscal problems
he promised to stop, but he still has an awful lot of accrued good will with
movie fans. Up until Last Action Hero he
was batting nearly one thousand, if we make allowances for Red Sonja. He has a reassuring screen presence that gives comfort
and inspires confidence. As Vogel, he is able to build on that reservoir of
good feeling, creating a surprisingly tender portrait of a father facing the
the titular Maggie, Abigail Breslin gives a refreshingly smart and subtle
performance, conveying a powerful sense of how quickly she has grown up as she
faces her fate. Although she is likely to be overlooked, Joely Richardson is
also terrific as the step-mother trying her best, despite her very human
failings. In fact, it is the intelligent, heartfelt rendering of the Vogel
family dynamics that really elevates Maggie.
Yes, Wade Vogel kills a handful of zombies, but
the film is highly likely to disappoint fans expecting a vintage 1980s Schwarzenegger
film. However, it suggests he might be able to pull off a third act comeback,
after all. Appropriately moody and shockingly touching, Maggie is highly recommended for sophisticated genre fans when it
opens this Friday (5/8) in select theaters, following its premiere screenings
at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Abigail Breslin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tribeca '15, Zombies