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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abilgail Breslin

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abilgail Breslin

“MAGGIE”  My rating: C+

95 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Not only does “Maggie” offer a “serious” look at the zombie apocalypse, but it features Arnold Schwarzenegger in what may prove to be his best performance.

Makes me wish I liked the movie more.

Short on mayhem and long on angst, this debut feature from writer John Scott and director Henry Hobson stars Schwarzenegger as Wade, a Midwestern farmer who braves a terrible pestilence to drive to the big city (Kansas City, we’re told) and retrieve his teenage daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin). She has contracted the mysterious disease and is being held in a special hospital ward.

The big brains call the bug the necroambulist virus — basically it turns human beings into zombies over the course of several weeks.  What makes this so terrible is that those bitten know they are doomed, that little by little they will lose their individuality and become snarling, stumbling monsters.

Wade brings Maggie back to the farm he shares with his second wife, Caroline (Joely Richardson), and their  two young children. For the wee ones’ safety they  are sent off to live with a relative  while Maggie  deteriorates.  When the disease reaches a certain stage — but while she still has her wits about her — emergency rules dictate that she will be taken by the local police to a camp where the infected will be destroyed.

Sounds grim…and it is.

(more…)

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