Maggie is a subverting zombie flick backed by a strong performance from Abigail Breslin. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to save it from an emotionally shallow story, negligible characters and snail-paced plot that wastes a thoughtful approach to an exhausted genre.

When a deadly zombie virus sweeps the nation, a father will stop at nothing to save his infected daughter.

Zombie outbreaks and infested post-apocalypse worlds are a dime in a brimming wishing well. In comes Maggie, the indiefied zombie movie that focuses on what happens in between.

Life After Beth has toyed with the idea with funny yet disappointing results. Maggie aims to be a thoughtful father and daughter film and accomplishes it, well almost.

Abigail Breslin gives a great performance as an infected teenager. The characterization is believable enough as she treats her zombification with a combination of indifference and petulance. Her make-up is detailed and worth mentioning as it does give a believable look at decay.

That’s pretty much it as Maggie refuses to make any more effort out of a good concept.

The post apocalyptic bleak world is nothing that we’ve seen before and looks the same as The Road – burning crops, skeletal remains of a nondescript town, and ominous woods. There are some scenes painted with dreamy cinematography of late afternoons but only as a reminder that you’re watching an artsy indie film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the stoic father well until he has to emote and deliver a line. It would have been better if they just made him a grandfather instead of a dad to avoid a trope but it seems someone didn’t want to be portrayed as old.

The narrative is an interesting approach to the typical zombie movie but the story is slow, uneventful, and shallow. It doesn’t tell us what makes Wade and Maggie’s father-daughter bond so special. It doesn’t look at the interpersonal relationships at home that could have given emotional depth to a character-driven plot. Caroline is taken out of the picture to give room for two underwritten characters. The glimpses of gore and PG-13 action isn’t bad for the film. But as the movie drags on it’ll make you wish for anything to happen.

The good ending is wasted by whatever came before it. Without any action, it’s up to the characters and story to lift it. Unfortunately, Breslin’s efforts is not enough to compensate for the Hallmark lite story and rail thin characters.

The movie has good intentions and potential. Overall Maggie is still a thoughtful zombie movie. Unfortunately, the script prevents it from becoming the compelling genre movie that it aspires to be as it fails to develop its premise and meanders until the end.

My Rating: 4/10

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