Maggie (2015)

maggie-poster

Striking to the very core of humanity and a tense turmoil of a zombie-fied dilemma, this post apocalyptic hybrid of horror and drama is near overflowing with believable tension. Awash with commited and unrelenting close up cinematography, ‘Maggie’ is stunning and thoughtful.

After The Turn citizens are trying to deal with people of their community suffering under a zombie Necroambulist virus. Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) picks up his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) from quarantine due to her being bitten. As Maggie stays longer at their farmhouse home, Wade has to come to terms with the possible reality of ending his daughter’s life.

I love that this film doesn’t play on the horror angle so many other filmmakers would have jumped upon. It has a horror edge to it from the bubbling suspense of the music or certain small moments but it’s rewarding for being highly emotionally driven. The grit of that unwanted struggle in the wake of a family member’s ‘illness’ is poetic and constant. The film does a grand job in building that clear bond between father and daughter and making this inevitable solution to her virus’ progress that much stronger.

Henry Hobson directs this movie with a collected nerve. It’s not like every other horror/thriller, the look is set apart from what you might expect and it truly plays on this ethereal quality of sound and vision. The grungy look of the city and torn up locations works in initial set up and a lot of the film has a brilliant sepia like brown tinge. Blue also plays a part in the cold aspect of the story developing. It’s a dull looking set of scenes but never a dull feature.

‘Maggie’ feels like an alarming dream, the gentle movements of the camera, the close up shots of people and objects and the still shots of almost nothingness. It’s a bold step to take and gladly they do take it. The film kind of floats along on the verge of building that nightmarish quality but luckily it always pulls back making the worry of Maggie’s condition the biggest focus. Lukas Ettlin needs two big thumbs up for his cinematography skills as he gifts this movie a lingering aura.

I’m seeing some less than positive reviews for this film and most sit under the negative cry of being boring, quiet and a shame but apart from minutely agreeing with them in some degree that it is slightly slow, I love the new take on a zombie genre and found the film effective in being affecting and genuinely moving. It squares on faces or fields a lot but look past the overused melancholia and I hope you’ll see the beauty of heart and tragedy in this low key drama.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pulls out a fine performance as the loving and loyal father. It’s a determined display as he goes along showing more acting than I think I’ve ever seen him do before in subtle doses. There’s trickles of emotions amongst his stern anguish and he plays Wade well. Abigail Breslin is a superb young talent to keep watching, from child stardom to mature roles she’s an actress with a perfect grip on how to make an audience get on your side. Maggie is a tormented, vulnerable and yet increasingly dark persona and Breslin encapsulates this decaying soul fantastically.

For a directorial debut this film comes across like someone who’s been making films for a while, it’s gliding with heartfelt family tension but can smack with horror when needed. Great for being so understated and one I would recommend for people happy to see something different.

7/10

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