This film is bleak and ultimately pretty boring. Unfortunately. Because I like the premise and the take on the zombie genre.
The premise is simple: Arnie plays Wade, a farmer/father just trying to look after his daughter after she gets bitten by a zombie and begins the multiple week transformation into a zombie. This creates the chance for the nuance of the zombie genre to really flex its metaphorical undertones and really have a slow paced and personal look at the ramifications of dehumanising someone into a monster. I dig the hell out of that. Zombies are more than just flesh eating creatures and this takes a dig at trying to explore how transformations destroy relationships, the community, and even the person dealing with their inevitable loss of personhood. It becomes a story analogous to knowing your loved one will die of a terminal illness in two weeks and the hardship that causes.
Unfortunately this brilliant idea gets bogged down in utterly dull banality. It's. Just. So. Dull. It took me I think 15 minutes before the thought occurred to me: this must be a first time director. And it is! The pacing is so off. I decided to watch it because it was only an hour and a half (and not including credits it's less than that) so figured hey, nice quick movie to enjoy at the end of the day. Nah. What ensues is a director more focused on silent inconsistently shaky shots of characters (mostly Arnie) brooding and having some kind of internal struggle over some super important element of the story but after the hundredth artsy cut away shot or silent 20 second scene it feels like this just didn't have enough content for a full length film. It's soooo sllooowwww. I checked MULTIPLE TIMES to see how much time I had left until the end because I just wanted this to be over but I'd invested too much time to give up on it. I wanted it to redeem itself. I wanted it to lift itself up out of the bland drudge through the slow decay of Abigail Breslin's character (the titular Maggie) into something more poignant, or at least... interesting. But it doesn't. Any tension by the end and replaced with frustration. You know where this is going the moment it starts.
The characters aren't interesting. Arnie plays a father figure. That's... about it. What does he like? He likes keeping his daughter around. There's a scene where they actually seem to bond with each other and are a proper father/daughter duo. The rest I don't care. All the other characters? Well I have the cast list open in a separate tab in case I feel like checking names because I don't know a single one. I can't think of any defining traits about these people besides the archetypes they're meant to fit into for the sake of narrative elements. There's the... (switches tab) step-mother? Oh I thought she was her aunt. Caroline. Who... is just present for someone to be uncomfortable about the whole situation. There's the two cops (who Arnie clumsily reveals he is close friends with through heavy handed expositionary dialogue) who warn Arnie that they'll intervene if Maggie goes too far. They're interchangeable nobodies who exist to serve a single purpose and I feel no reason why who they are affects the plot in any way.
The cinematography, much like my experience for an hour and a half, is bleak. The colour grading is overdone. It doesn't so much set the tone as demand you feel sad. We get it dude, you were a scene kid when a teenager. You're very excited to show us your latest film school project. It genuinely just feels like if someone slowed down a heavy metal music video but then removed all the music, sporadically added dialogue, then slowed it down way too much. It hurts me. It hurts me so bad.
This movie is meant to have a soul. It really should and I know it wants to be a deep examination of a little girl losing her humanity before her eyes and the pain it's causing her father but he just comes off as distant and flat. This was a good draft that just never got rewritten to really hit the nail of all the ideas it was going for on the head.
Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller
Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller
After a couple of weeks seeking out his teenage daughter Maggie, Wade finds her in the quarantine wing of a hospital. Maggie has been infected by a lethal outbreak that transforms the victim into a zombie. Wade's friend Dr. Vern Kaplan releases Maggie to spend her last days with Wade and her family. Her stepmother Caroline asks Wade to take their little kids to her sister's house to keep them safe. While Maggie is slowly transformed, Wade stays with her protecting Maggie. But Dr. Vern warns him that the moment that he will have to take an ultimate decision is closer.
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June 23, 2015 at 09:32 PM