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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Maggie

July 6th, 2015

Maggie - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand


Maggie is a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, who hasn't had a massive hit since his return to acting post-politics. In fact, most of the films he's starred in have struggled mightily. Maggie was given an early VOD release, which might be a sign that the studio gave up on the movie. Or it might be a sign that VOD is becoming more lucrative, so much so that VOD can cover this film's modest production budget.

The Movie

The film begins with the titular Maggie calling her father, Wade, telling him that she left for the city and asking him not to go after her. He goes after her anyways.

We see him driving in his truck and we hear on the radio information about the necroambulis virus epidemic, which is a virus that spreads to human from infected crops. The virus turns humans into zombies, but this isn't a zombie apocalypse movie. While there are zombies, quick government intervention and quarantines have gotten the problem mostly under control. Mostly.

When Wade gets to the city, he finds Maggie in a quarantine center. She was picked up over the night and was found with a severe bite. Normally she would be kept in quarantine, but Wade is allowed by the doctor running the quarantine center to take her home as a favor for their Doctor, Vern, at least until she starts showing symptoms.

On the way back, Wade stops at a gas station to get some gas, but when he goes into the back to use the bathroom, he's attacked by the proprietor, who has gone full zombie. He is able to kill the zombie without being bit, but quickly leaves without telling Maggie what happened. (Normally I wouldn't mention this because it is spoiling a moment early in the film, but there is a reason, which I will get to after the plot summary.) When they get home, Caroline, Wade's second wife and Maggie's step-mother, is getting her two kids, Bobby and Molly, packed and ready to go. While Maggie is home, they will be staying with their aunt. Molly is too young to understand what's going on, but Bobby knows, because some of his schoolmates were infected.

With the two younger kids gone, Maggie tries to live a normal life, or at least as normal as she can before the inevitable happens.

I've mentioned recently that how expectations are just as important as quality is when it comes to audience reactions to a film. For example, Drive was marketed more as a car chase / action film, but it was a drama that just happened to involve someone who was good at driving cars. Maggie is a movie about zombies, so the obvious expectation is that it is a horror movie. It isn't. I mentioned the scene in the gas station, because it is literally one of three scenes that have real horror elements to them. For the most part, this is a drama about a father and daughter dealing with the latter's inevitable death. It has more in common with The Fault in Our Stars than with 28 Days Later..., for example.

So does the movie work as a drama? Yes and no. Firstly, the performances by both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin are excellent. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't get a lot of chances to do dramatic work, but he is excellent here. Additionally, it has been nearly a decade since Abigail Breslin earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Little Miss Sunshine, but her performance here shows she has continued to grow as an actress. (I can't wait to see her in Scream Queens, but it is a Fox show I'm interested in watching, so it will likely be canceled in three episodes.) Despite the strong performances and a different take on the zombie genre, there are still some issues holding the film back. Namely its pacing. The movie has deliberate pacing, to be kind. I still enjoyed the movie and recommend more people see it, but you really have to know what type of film it is going in. Do not expect a typical horror film. Expect a drama that just happens to have zombies in it.

The Extras

Extras begin with an audio commentary track with Henry Hobson, who made his directorial debut here. There is also an 18-minute making of featurette and five interview featurettes with a total running time of 50 minutes. Finally, there is one deleted scene. This is better than expected for a film that was a VOD premiere.

The technical presentation is good, but not great. As the director mentioned in his audio commentary, the colors were adjusted to more muted to match the tone of the movie more. There's nothing wrong with the transfer and the film looks like what the filmmakers intended, but there's not a lot of visual pop. The audio is front and center for the most part, but that makes sense for a dialogue-driven drama. The score dominates the surround sound speakers, but there is enough activity there when called for that it doesn't feel bare.

The Blu-ray costs just $13, which is just $1 more than the DVD. That's an excellent deal.

The Verdict

Maggie is bolstered by some excellent performances, which helps overcome the slow pace. It is worth checking out, while the DVD or Blu-ray have better extras and a lower price than expected. It is worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Maggie, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jodie Moore, Henry Hobson, Aiden Flowers, Carsen Flowers