Maggie burns slower than it rightfully should, but Arnold Schwarzengger and Abigail Breslin's performances definitely elevate the material far past Henry Hobson's dark and restrained direction.
Henry Hobson‘s Maggie isn’t your typical zombie film, trading in gore and action for a quiet, performance-driven film, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. Maggie‘s change of pace both for the popular zombie genre and Schwarzenegger’s usual acting choices makes for a unique film, but one that moves a little too slow and shows too much restraint.
Wade’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) is bitten and infected with a zombie-like disease that turns its host into an aggressive cannibal that slowly deteriorates over time.
Now, Wade must figure out what to do with his ill daughter as she quickly turns into something else. Maggie deals with the whole zombie genre of films with a new approach, putting the drama on the forefront, while the actual blood and gore typically found in zombie flicks gets slowly simmered into the equation.
Director Henry Hobson achieves this by casting two strong leads, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. Both deliver mighty fine performances, which helps elevate the material past its slow-burn and somewhat restrained unfolding.
Maggie isn’t a film for those that are impatient or even those craving a little more action and horror from their zombie flicks, because Maggie doesn’t have much of either of those and instead firmly leans on its performances.
Schwarzenegger has been getting most of the spotlight for his performance, which can be described as strong and full of hidden emotion that most thought he wasn’t capable of, but he shares that talent with the equally impressive Abigail Breslin.
His turn as the caring father is a powerful one and one that shows us that Schwarzenegger definitely has some gas left in the tank to entertain and surprise us, while her more literal turn as a daughter transforming into a flesh-craving monster is much more tragic.
Breslin’s approach to helplessness is a sad one that definitely keeps the film hovering on depression, while occasionally sparking with moments of love and good memories. Watching Breslin’s body and mind get eaten away isn’t an easy task, yet she conveys it in such an effortless way.
Schwarzenegger’s ability to convey such calm and quiet through Wade is great too, reminding us that he’s far more than just an action superstar.
Maggie does rely a little too much on its performances though, with Henry Hobson‘s direction remaining cold and lifeless, while John Scott 3‘s script spends little time expanding on the already established themes.
The film moves painfully slow at times and it’s important to understand how vital that is towards the film’s overall tone and movement. But that doesn’t exactly give the film a pass.
Maggie feels like a film that relies too heavily on its performances and not enough on its creativity and storytelling. Hobson and Scott had the tools to make a great film, but they settled for a sometimes good one, thanks to its performances. Take one of those out and you’d have a really bland and unbalanced film.
Maggie suffers from slow pacing and a lack for stronger motion, but holds its own as a performance-driven highlight for stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin.
It’s not exactly something that needs to be seen during its limited theatrical run, but might surprise some as a blind experimental VOD rental.