Generally speaking, most zombie stories follow a certain path with one word: survival. Dawn of the Dead, Quarantine, and World War Z for example all follow this idea of surviving in an unnatural event, or a resistance to take back the world. That's why when a film like MAGGIE comes along, it's easy to write it off as another un-dead flick. That would be one of the biggest mistakes a person could make.
Maggie follows the story of Maggie Vogel, whom has been infected with an un-curable disease. Her father does not want to put her in quarantine, yet knows that she is going to die, and he has the choice to finish her himself. As you can see, the film itself simply with that premise separates itself from all other stories. I love a good action film like WORLD WAR Z, but there's something really engaging about watching a drama set in this type of world.
Of course, dramas can become incredibly boring, even with a cool concept/franchise behind it. (Superman Returns is the perfect example.) The actors involved here really nail the great script. Abigail Breslin as the title character portrays a believable girl as she goes through this unfathomable ordeal. Teenagers in film are rarely portrayed well, so it was refreshing to see a likable character. The slow transformation from human girl to monster was brilliantly done. The viewer can feel the emotion as she breaks down not being able to control the virus from kicking in.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's character's relationship with his daughter was nicely established. The viewer can feel his inner sadness as a father as he's given the option to kill Maggie himself, or bring her to quarantine where they'll do it. No matter what she's going to die, so it's rather bleak. How does a father, or anyone deal with that? How does anyone deal with the knowledge there's no cure for a fatal disease? The film poses some intriguing questions.
That's not to say there's absolutely nothing negative. With its rather short run time, it feels like there could have been a bit more. Maggie's step mom's arc ends abruptly for example. The ending is effective and powerful, plus it gives a frightening perspective I've never seen established before in a movie. But it ends rather too suddenly, with no real end to Wade's, the father, arc. It feels like there should have been something additional. But, this stuff doesn't take away from the quality of the story. While this is not action, there's still one great action scene where Arnold unveils his Terminator skills on a zombie.
Overall, Maggie is a must-see for longtime fans of the zombie sub-genre, and general drama watchers in general. It tells a powerful story of a girl whom is infected with an un-curable virus, and her relationship to her father. The choreography, acting, and writing are all excellent. I've avoided spoilers because I truly want you to go check this out. The fact it's PG-13 and not R is a nice change of pace too. A story with zombies doesn't have to be overly gory to be effective. Maggie makes the viewer contemplate about life, sickness, and reminds "to make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" and that "now is the day of salvation" (Ephesians 5:16, 2 Corinthians 6:2) because one never really knows when their last day will be.