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Laramie Movie Scope: Maggie

A dark, depressing, realistic zombie movie

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 30, 2016 -- I can't recommend this movie, even though I'm giving this a “B” rating. I'll explain why.

While I admire the craftsmanship and the talent that went into this low-budget zombie film, it is not something I ever want to watch again. Buying that blu-ray was not a good decision on my part.

Rather than the usual zombie apocalypse, with lots of bitey people staggering around, this is a more realistic look at what might happen if there really was a zombie disease epidemic. It is a story of how one family deals with a terrible disease when there is no easy way out.

In this version of the story, plants, as well as animals are infected with the disease. Crops are being burned everywhere. Maggie (Abigail Breslin of “Zombieland”) has been bitten and infected. Her father, Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger of “Terminator Genisys”) searches for her and finally finds her. He gets her out of quarantine with the help of a doctor friend, Vern Kaplin (Jodie Moore) who advises Wade to put Maggie out of her misery quickly when the time comes.

Wade takes Maggie home and tries to make her last days of life as pleasant as possible, but her disease progresses rapidly, and Maggie's stepmother, Caroline (Joely Richardson of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) eventually leaves their secluded farmhouse, to join their children, banished for their own safety earlier, while Wade, who can't bring himself to kill or abandon his daughter, waits with Maggie to the bitter end.

This is basically a simple story of a family dealing with a child who has a fatal illness. The family goes down a tragic path that a million other families have had to travel, with the exception that the last stage of this illness requires actions that are even more horrible than called for with other fatal diseases. The only question remains, what will Wade and Maggie do when those final, awful decisions have to be made?

While most zombie stories are silly, this one isn't, because it isn't about the walking dead. This is a movie about a family trying to cope with a deadly disease. There are no easy answers, only impossible choices. This is a story of love, friendship and compassion in the face of tragedy. The story (apart from the zombie disease) is very believable. The performances by the actors are flawless and convincing.

This is more like an art film than a typical zombie film. It is character driven, not action driven, and the characters are very believable. The problems in the film are like those of many art films: It has a slow pace. It is dark, depressing and bleak, giving the distinct impression that life is rather pointless. I did not enjoy watching this film, but I have to admit that it is well-written and well-acted. I don't really see any flaws in it.

The film is very dark looking, reflecting the darkness in the story itself, and the pace is slow, like a lot of art films. People who don't like art films, probably won't like this one. Even some people who like art films don't like this one. That seems hypocritical. I am not against art films, but there are some I really can't stand. This is one that is in between. I didn't enjoy it, but I did admire the acting and the emotional power of the story. It is well-crafted. It rates a B. But do be aware that it is not entertaining.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)