Directed By: Henry Hobson
Written By: John Scott 3
Cinematography By: Lukas Ettlin
Editor: Jane Rizzo
Cast: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Douglas M. Griffin, Jodie Moore
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.
When you think Arnold Schwarzenegger and zombies you wonder what could go wrong. This film illuminates how it can. –I first heard about this project when it was on the blacklist. (A list of the years best unproduced scripts) I thought the premise sounding original and could really be something special. My interests spiked when Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the project.
Once the film was done, filming and was being released. I wondered why it had so little advertisement and barely any buzz. Unless you really follow films and film news.
Watching the film I am Left to wonder the reasons he joined the project in it’s current state. I wonder if this was the script he read?
I will admit you already have to be on your toes and ready to be skeptical, when it is considered a horror or even genre film and it has a pg-13 rating. Though there have been films that have been exceptional with that grade. Really working around or within it. This isn’t that type of film.
The film quite often is dull. It just seems to sit there even thigh things are happening on screen. It just seems to keep a slow pace, throughout.
The material comes across as stale and strangely familiar, though it tries to take a more observation route. As we watch his infected daughter slowly go through the deterioration from the virus. How it affects her family, especially her father and friends. The films situations reek of an attempt to make us care. Rather than just being natural and telling the story itself.
It seems like the film is trying to say something, but doesn’t know how to say it. As the film is filmed to be different from other zombie films. Giving it a different take. Focusing on the drama and relationships. Even with the very little action in the film. It has little energy. More trying to ratchet up fear and be secretive for no real reason.
The film shows contrasts between the family and others in the community suffering from the same dilemma. Adding shades of an epidemic. As we see the cycle repeat itself and the fear and care it induces. Showing different methods of coping.
The film ends up having a Somber slow mood and moodiness to it.
Though the material never quite connects. So it feels like heavy brooding throughout. Where the director seems more interested in his Terrence Malik like direction and camerawork, but doesn’t allow the film to get as distracted by nature, while trying to stay more natural.
Here he seems to use it to make the plague horrible and realistic yet relating human nature and nature in time of crisis and then thin line that seperated it. Dealing more in the minutae. As we explore a microcosm of a families ordeal. Rather then the world wide epidemic of zombie rage and ramifications.
The film is quite often more melodramatic then deep. It treats the zombie plague more as a virus or uncontrollable drug addiction.
Throughout it seems like the film is building towards something. That it will have a payoff that is worth it. Then the one they offer the audience is disappointing as it fizzles. As it proves to be something to get excited about before.
While it shows the bonds of familial love, after starting out like a coming of age ritual moment. While it hits some emotional high notes.it also feels melodramatic
Think of it as a older, modern zombie equivalent of OLD YELLER.
There is one scene that truly gives the film the thought and chills it seeks, but once it is done so quickly it never reaches those heights again.
Arnold Schwarzenegger seems like stunt casting for this film. He adds star power to it. It is understandable why he took the role. As it offers him more range than usual. As the film rests more on his performance and not as physical as usual. Though you never feel his presence. Even Though he is top billed he feels more supporting. As he never commands the screen. He has nothing much to do but lumber around in scenes and look concerned. This is the lowest budgeted film he has worked on since the original TERMINATOR and shockingly after all these years. This is also his first zombie film
Chloe Grace Moretz and Paddy Considine were originally going to star
The film might have been a bit more effective if it had a more low key. Key cast member.