Just when you thought you have seen every scenario regarding the zombie apocalypse, Maggie sets a different tone for the genre. Part of the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2015, Maggie delivers a beautiful, well crafted characterization of love, tolerance and acceptance in horrific times. Maggie is directed by Henry Hobson best known for The Help, Hangover II and Snow White and the Huntsman.. Set in a nondescript Midwestern state, Maggie tells the tale of a father's love for his daughter who contracts the deadly Necroambulist virus spread by infected crops. This virus is incurable and causes the victim to slowly turn into a flesh eating zombie in a matter of days.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Wade, the loving father who swore to his dead wife that he would protect Maggie, played by Abigail Breslin, no matter what. He travels to the city hospital after receiving a cryptic phone message from Maggie who ends up there courtesy of the local armed troops patrolling the area for the infected. Quarantine is basically placed in holding area with other infected and left to die a miserable death.
Wade is allowed to take Maggie home for her hospice care with certain stipulations. If she begins to turn he has three options, bring her back to quarantine, administer a cocktail for the final stages of the disease, or quick and painless which usually is a bullet to the head. The doctor recommends "quick and painless". The cocktail does nothing more but prolong painful suffering. While taking her home, Wade encounters his first glimpse of an infected attendant at a gas station who has to kill .
This sets the emotional stage Wade as he cares for Maggie at home. Maggie's younger siblings are sent to stay with relatives during Maggie's final days. A heartwarming interaction between Maggie and her younger brother shows the state of the world as he asks her "are you going to die? and does it hurt". Maggie is straightforward and honest in her response and her brother's only reply before he leaves is he missed her while she was gone.
Maggie's stepmother Caroline, played by Joely Richardson, is optimistic and supportive in the beginning but that deteriorates as she notices Maggie's condition worsens before her eyes.
Some of the signs of impending zombie is increased hunger, aggression, and a heighten sense of smell for the victim . Once these are displayed there is no turning back. Out of fear, Caroline too leaves Wade to fend for himself in caring for Maggie after Maggie smells barbecue cooking and nothing's in the kitchen but Caroline.
As the end grows near, Wade understands what to expect. He arms himself with a rifle and sleeps downstairs on the last night of Maggie's transformation. Wade listens to her raspy breathing and realizes what he has to do to end Maggie's suffering. But Wade falls asleep, shotgun in his arms. Maggie slowly descends down the stairs unnoticed by Wade in her raspy, scary, breathing.
Not to give away anything for all you folks who haven't seen the film, the ending was tense , poignant and surprisingly heartbreaking for a zombie flick. This film wasn't given the proper attention marketing wise in my opinion. It was beautifully shot with a subdued almost black and white quality. Believe it or not Arnold gave a stellar performance as the protective grieving father. This film can be associated with any child going through an incurable disease process and what extent a parent will go to alleviate suffering.
I highly recommend it to all .