Henry Hobson’s directorial debut Maggie is a brooding drama with gothic accents. The atmosphere is powerful, even if the film lacks vitality.
A disease that turns people into zombies has spread across major cities. When Maggie, a teenage girl from the Midwest, is infected, she is released into the custody of her father to spend her remaining days with her family…
Although Maggie is a zombie movie, it does not fit the mould of this sub-genre. Instead, director Henry Hobson’s film is more of a drama than anything else. Maggie concentrates on family relationships in a difficult circumstance, particularly the relationship between father and daughter.
The film is a slow burner, focusing on relationship dynamics rather than a strong narrative progression. As such there are reflections on the past, and the difficult realisation of the circumstance. At times, it feels as if Maggie is reaching for emotion that isn’t there. Although the mood is consistent, it does not necessarily generate a strong reaction from the audience.
The setting of Maggie is interesting in that it eschews the big city epidemic for a more remote environment. The premise does have a certain hook in exploring what would happen in rural communities if such an outbreak was to occur. Nevertheless, the execution of the film renders it less absorbing than it could have been. Those expecting scares are likely to be disappointed.
The handheld camera gives a feeling of intimacy with the characters. However, this could have been toned down at times. The muted palette works well to give the film a look that matches its thematic tone. Abigail Breslin offers a decent performance as the afflicted teenage girl. Wade is an usual role for action star Arnold Schwarzenegger; his performance is fitting but not standout.
An interesting concept, Maggie is betrayed by a lack of vigour that undermines overall enjoyment.