From Eric Kohn‘s 4.22 Indiewire review of Maggie (Roadside/Lionsgate, 5.8) , filed from the Tribeca Film Festival: “Arnold Schwarzenegger is not your average action hero in Henry Hobson‘s Maggie. The movie contains no impossible stunt work, hail of bullets, outrageous explosions or nefarious mega villains. Instead, as even-tempered midwestern farmer Wade, Schwarzenegger faces a far more daunting foe: the imminent death of his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin).
“Bitten by a zombie before the story begins, Maggie’s plight doesn’t so much adhere to the standard tropes of the walking dead genre so much as it magnifies one of them — the slow, painful transformation of a zombie victim and the question of whether those around her have the courage to put her out of her misery. Needless to say, it’s a welcome change of pace for the actor as well as the material itself, which Hobson and screenwriter John Scott 3 tackle with an impressive degree of restraint that strengthens its inevitably sentimental conclusion.
“Captured in moody grays and browns by cinematographer Lukas Ettlin, Maggie is sometimes too brooding for its own good, but just as often manages to generate a genuine sense of melancholy.
“The atmosphere takes hold early on, when Wade drives through the vacant countryside while radio announcements explain the global impact of a zombie virus that has led the government to detain many civilians bitten by the infected before they turn. Such an unfortunate fate has befallen Maggie when Wade finds her in a medical facility, where doctors allow him to take her home in anticipation of her demise — essentially to give her palliative care until her condition worsens. At that point, he’s told, he’ll have to give her over to the authorities. But Wade has other plans.
“The ensuing narrative almost exclusively unfolds on Wade’s farm, where Maggie’s condition increasingly worsens: Her skin stars to fray, her limbs grow loose and she vomits disgusting substances. While Wade continues to offer solace for his daughter, her unsettled stepmother (Joely Richardson) and their young son both keep their distance, while the surrounding community grows increasingly paranoid. An abrupt encounter with escaped zombies from a nearby home mark one of the only moments of genuine terror, but it also carries the more ominous connotations of the fate that Wade and his daughter both know awaits her.
“Eventually, the movie becomes a tense and eerie two-hander with father and daughter holed up together in anticipation of a dark finale.”
Tribeca Film Festival post-screening interview footage posted on 4.22 by Blackfilm’s Wilson Morales.