Saturday, October 07, 2017

Maggie (2015 film)

Directed by Henry Hobson and written by John Scott 3, Maggie is the story of a young girl who had been bitten by a zombie as she turns to her father for help who struggles to take care of her just as she is declining. The film is an unusual zombie movie where a man deals with what happened to his daughter as well as struggling to contain her humanity. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, and Joely Richardson. Maggie is a chilling yet somber film from Henry Hobson.

Set in a post-apocalyptic zombie epidemic in the American Midwest, the film revolves a man who takes his daughter home after she had been bitten by a zombie as he struggles with her condition and wonder if she could be cured or not. It’s a film that is about the possibility of death coming as well as what a father is dealing with as he wonders if he would lose his daughter. John Scott 3’s screenplay begins with the titular character (Abigail Breslin) talking on her phone though it’s only heard through dialogue as nothing is shown until her father Wade Vogler (Arnold Schwarzenegger) drives through a war-torn city to pick her up as he is forced to face the reality of what might happen to his daughter. Upon returning home where his wife Caroline (Joely Richardson) is getting ready to send their two youngest children Bobby and Molly (Aiden and Carsen Flowers, respectively) to their aunt out of fear that Maggie might harm them.

It adds to the dramatic stake as Caroline is wondering when her stepdaughter will change as she eventually leaves while Wade also realizes what is happening around him as he would encounter two people he knew who have become zombies prompting to take action. Yet, he also copes with the fact they were once people as he has to contend with what will happen to his daughter who is aware of what is happening to her. Even as she tries to maintain some normalcy, she also knows what will happen as she doesn’t want to be quarantined where other zombies that she know would be sent to. Especially as there’s local police who are telling Wade to do something or else they would have to handle it themselves prompting Wade to decide on what he will do for his daughter.

Henry Hobson’s direction is straightforward in terms of the compositions as it doesn’t go for a lot of style by maintaining a sense of restraint in terms of the zombie violence in favor of the dramatic stakes of the film. Shot on location in areas near New Orleans as parts of Kansas and Kansas City, the film does play into something that does feel like a Midwestern film with its fields and farms as some of them are being burned with people no longer part of traditional society. While there are some wide shots, Hobson would emphasize more on medium shots and close-ups for the dramatic elements including a few scenes of suspense such as Wade encountering the two zombies. Still, Hobson just keep things straightforward while maintaining that air of suspense of when Maggie will fully become a zombie as he builds up very slowly and with a restraint. Especially in the third act as Maggie’s condition worsen where she struggles to retain whatever is left of her humanity and Wade doing everything he can as he tries to accept the inevitable. Yet, there are a few moments during the second act between Wade and Maggie as they talk about Maggie’s late mother whom Wade loves as it would be a simple and tender moment that would be key to its climax in what Maggie wants to retain the most. Overall, Hobson crafts a riveting yet touching film about a man dealing with his daughter becoming a zombie.

Cinematographer Lukas Ettlin does excellent work with the film’s cinematography with its emphasis on low-key yet de-saturated colors for much of the film to play into stark weather of the exteriors as well as some scenes set at night. Editor Jane Rizzo does brilliant work with the editing as it is straightforward for much of it with some rhythmic cuts to play into the suspense. Production designer Gabor Norman, with set decorator Ryan Martin Dwyer and art director Frank Zito, does fantastic work with the look of the hospital in the film’s early scenes as well as the home where Wade and his family lived in. Costume designer Claire Breaux does nice work with the costumes as it is mostly casual for what the characters wear.

The special makeup effects work of Bailey Domke, Marcos Gonzales, Elvis Jones, and Matthew O’Toole is amazing for the way the zombies look as well as how Maggie would look through each passing day through its effects. Visual effects supervisor Ed Chapman does terrific work with some of the film’s minimal visual effects as it relate to a fox as well as a few of the flashbacks involving zombies. Sound designer Chris Terhune does superb work with the sound from the way it creates sound effects to what Maggie is hearing in her deteriorating condition to some of the things that are presented naturally on location. The film’s music by David Wingo is wonderful for its low-key score that is mainly driven by piano with some string instruments to play into the film’s somber tone while music supervisor Laura Katz creates a soundtrack that features some contemporary music in the background including a song performed by Oscar Brown Jr.

The casting by Ryan Glorioso is great as it feature some notable small roles from Aiden and Carsen Flowers in their respective roles as Maggie’s half siblings Bobby and Molly, Raeden Greer as a friend of Maggie in Allie, Bryce Romero as another friend of Maggie in Trent who is also infected, Jodie Moore as Dr. Vern Kaplan who examines Maggie, Rachel Whitman Groves as a neighbor of Wade, J.D. Evermore as a cop named Holt who wants to take Maggie to quarantine, and Douglas M. Griffin as Sheriff Ray Pierce who knows Maggie and wants Wade to deal with her. Joely Richardson is excellent as Wade’s wife/Maggie’s stepmother Caroline who is concerned about what is happening to Maggie as she tries not to create any problems knowing there’s tension between the two as she realizes what she has to do when she knows what will happen to Maggie.

Abigail Breslin is incredible as the titular character as this teenage girl who deals with being bitten by a zombie as well as her deteriorating condition as she struggles to retain whatever humanity she has left as well as know what will happen to her. Finally, there’s Arnold Schwarzenegger in a sensational performance as Wade Vogler as Maggie’s father who is forced to deal with what is daughter is becoming as he also carries a sense of loss and need to protect her as it’s this very restrained and world-weary performance from Schwarzenegger who sheds the action badass persona he’s known for to play someone normal without overdoing it.

Maggie is a marvelous film from Henry Hobson that features great performances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. Along with its ensemble cast and unusual take on the zombie sub-genre, it’s a film that does contain some of its trope but is more about a father and daughter relationship in which a man copes with the fact that he might be losing his daughter. In the end, Maggie is a remarkable film from Henry Hobson.

© thevoid99 2017


Dell said...

I love this movie. So glad you liked it. Breslin was fantastic as you said, but for me, this is Arnie's film. He gives it all of its heart, which is something I never thought I would be saying about Arnold Schwarzenegger. Chilling and somber, indeed.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-When people say that guys like Arnold, Stallone, or Van Damme can't act. They always find a way to counter that answer. Especially in recent years as I think Arnold has a lot more to offer these days as a dramatic actor with the right film. At least, he, Sly, Van Damme, and Jackie Chan are able to use whatever limitations they have as actors and use to their advantage. Plus, they have a sense of humor unlike Steven Seagal who still runs like a bitch.