After Maggie contracts a virus that results in zombie like behaviour, her father is allowed to take her home to spend the last good weeks of her life with him before she is placed into quarantine.
Just when you thought you’d seen every iteration of the zombie sub-genera someone goes and adds yet another sub-sub-genre to the mix. We’ve had zombie-gore, zombie-action, zombie-comedy, zom-rom-com, zombie-adventure, zombie-found footage, zombie-apocalypse and many, many more besides, but what was missing? Zombie-tragi-drama, it turns out.
The problem with this is, for you to truly get behind the soul crushing emotional tragedy of a father seeing his daughter becoming zombified in increments, you’d have to be hooked in with some top notch acting to really sell it. Good job then that first time director, Henry Hobson, went with a renowned thespian known for pulling on our heartstrings… Arnold Schwarzenegger?!
It smacks of stunt casting, and it is, but it seems no one told Arnie that because, all cynicism aside, he really does make a good go of it. Perhaps a little too old for the role, he nevertheless does exactly what’s expected of him and genuinely elicits emotion, and though not pushing the boat out, playing a strong father figure, he nonetheless retains the required subtlety to deliver his first truly touching performance.
Okay, so now that’s out of the way, how does the film stand on it’s own merits?
Well, but for the fact that zombieism has replaced what could have been any terminal disease, it wouldn’t have been original or even that entertaining, but the addition of a zombie virus was added to this tragic drama and as such DID add levels of intrigue that worked just enough to separate Maggie from both the zombie AND drama pack.
It does feel original and it succeeds in being remarkably grounded, totally fulfilling its intentions, but with all that, especially in the first act, it’s so dull as to be potentially off-putting.
That first act is so slow moving in its aim of building atmosphere via Nicolas Winding Refn-alike quiet/protracted/shaky/pointless shots that it just about loses you, though this does bolster the slight running time to a necessary feature length. But with the second act, when a little humour and personality breaks the monotony, some actual poignancy bubbles to the surface and the film becomes what it intended to be from the get-go.
It IS good, it IS original and it DOES make a point of recasting Arnie as a legitimate screen actor, so, yes, it’s worth a look, but it’s dull and a little slow so you’ll likely never watch it again.