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In a beautiful written piece for the New York Times, Trevor Noah paints a picture of his childhood with his mother


2015-11-20 08:59

What it's about:

A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.

What we thought:

I’ve always been a fan of zombie movies, and these days they have become prolific in the movie scene (just waiting for a decent South African one) and I’ve almost always preferred the more comedic ones - because in reality, a real zombie apocalypse would be absolutely terrible and emotionally scarring. This is what Maggie focuses on – the gut-wrenching trial of watching a loved one deteriorate before your eyes, knowing that they could turn on you at any moment. Unfortunately, Maggie was just too boring to be able to leave that  much of an impact on the audience.

Contrary to other depictions, Maggie’s zombie apocalypse sees a world where society and order has remained steadfast, controlling the zombie plague by sending infected home (?!) to spend their last days with their family before being sent to Quarantine (aka Deathcamp). An infected teenager (Abigail Breslin) comes to grip with her impending doom, while her father (Arnold Schwarzenegger) grapples with his failure to protect her.

One tends to be sceptical with any serious role the Arnie tries to take on, but he’s surprisingly not the reason this film was dreadful. He nails the protective father bit, and the anguish at his daughter’s condition is the only performance that will elicit any emotional response from the audience. The real downfall of the film was the daughter. It’s hard to tell who was at the fault – the screenwriter for writing such an uninteresting character, the director for lack of proper cues or Breslin herself for a mediocre performance – but whoever it was the character hardly evoked any sympathy. Her lack of agency in her life makes you almost glad she’s infected, on a similar level to Lori from Walking Dead.

Besides the daughter, the overall movie wasn’t exactly intriguing and the rest of the characters were more in the background than the background was, which is sad considering that the script was on the coveted Black List for outstanding scripts and had won awards before the film was even made. Then perhaps the fault was with director Henry Hobson, who’s been a main title designer and director for various movies, TV shows (including The Walking Dead) and video games (including zombie game The Last of Us). Clearly he’s familiar with the zombie genre, but trying to capture the emotional trauma of those left behind he lost his grasp on the human story of loss.

Maggie is a film that could have been but wasn’t, lacking a smooth flow of events and stop-starting with every scene. At most, the film does make you wonder if you’d be able to do ‘what-needs-to-be-done’ if a loved one were to turn into a cannibalistic monster, but this introspection fades even while you are still watching it. A definite skip at the cinema, I’d advise to rather wait for the sequel to World War Z for your ‘clever’ zombie fix.


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