This little gem snuck in and out and went right to video for me. I am a huge zombie movie fanatic and will try just about everything once. Twice usually, just to make sure I REALLY don't like it. When I first caught wind of it last year I instantly became interested. Plus any angle I can use to get my wife into watching more zombie movies is a bonus. Rarely do you find story driven zombie movies, especially a good character story driven zombie movie. If you're looking for disembowelments, head cleaving, running zombies and all the other ADHD shallow zombie stuff then move along, nothing for you to see here. Also, this article isn't going to be laced with .gifs and tons of pics from the movie, so deal.
I'm trying to write this article without doing the whole spoiler thing. Told from the viewpoint of the family of Wade and Maggie Vogel (father and daughter), her stepmother Caroline, and how their world falls apart around them because of Maggie's zombie illness. The story itself is more of a family coming to terms with a terminal illness, except that at the end of this illness Maggie would become a cannibalistic monster. The movie concentrates mostly on how Maggie and her father deal with this with eachother. Apparently this is a slow moving virus which takes weeks to progress to fully take over the host body. At a hair under 90 minutes (if you don't watch the credits), the movie plays out exactly how you didn't think it would. I was not disappointed in how it ends up in the finale.
Schwarzenegger is the biggest surprise in this movie, he actually ACTS and it's really not half bad. No stupid one liners, no "Get to da choppa!", nothing like that. He plays a vulnerable, scared man who has to make the shittiest decision in the UNIVERSE. He doesn't want to take his daughter into the quarantine camps designated for those in the advanced stages of the zombie virus and he doesn't want to kill her. Even though he deals with other characters throughout the movie, you can see on his face that he is thinking about Maggie. This is the first Arnold movie I can remember seeing that I really enjoyed him as an actual actor. Abigail Breslin pulls of being Maggie quite well as she transitions from early to late stage zombie virus signs and symptoms.
The make up effects were pretty good, injuries and blood turn black, eyes turning milky, then tar black, veins turning black under her skin, sores breaking out all over her. I also really enjoyed the camera work, color, and lighting in the movie. It brings the mood in to the movie and makes the viewer feel like they're a part of the situation. The music is nicely scored, not over the top, so much in the background that sometimes you wouldn't even know it was there. What's more is the basic setting of the movie is so remote feeling, you'd swear they were on a deserted island most of the time. This is a movie that certainly could be translated onto the stage with no issues at all.
If you have a significant other (male or female, whatever) who just doesn't seem to like zombie movies or tv shows, then I would try to talk your SO into this movie. Tell them it's a charming story about a father and his daughter set in a semi-apocalyptic zombie outbreak. There are so few zombies in this movie that it's almost a lie to call it a zombie movie! Overall, I enjoyed this flick enough to write about it and then go watch it again. It's available on iTunes and wherever else fine entertainment is sold online. :D