I didn’t find the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger was starring in a zombie-themed movie very surprising, but as I say in my video review above, what’s really an eye opener is that the movie is honest, emotional and understated. And so is Arnold. This may be the most subtle work he has ever done in movies, pre or post political career, and he’s quite touching as a father unwilling to let go of his teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) who is about to join the walking dead after being exposed to a viral pandemic that has caused an almost-apocalyptic death rate.

Deadline Review Badge Pete HammondUsually when infected, officials quarantine the victims, locking them away never to be heard from again as they descend into their zombie-like state. But Wade brings his daughter back home after she runs away, causing friction with her stepmother and her two kids as well as the law. At its center is a very affecting performance from Breslin as Maggie, and the father-daughter dynamic drives the film but never pounds the viewer on the head. Although it is suspenseful in parts, first-time director Henry Hobson’s pic serves only to use its setting and premise to present a human story about the tragedy and difficulty in knowing when it is time to let go.

Schwarzenegger has rarely ventured into the world of independent filmmaking, but this one got very good reaction recently at the Tribeca Film Festival and looks to make a splash on the specialty circuit including VOD. Schwarzenegger served in a rare capacity as one of the film’s many producers, a list that includes Colin Bates, Joey Tufaro, Matthew Baer, Bill Johnson, Ara Keshishian, Trever Kaufman and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam. John Scott 3 provided the screenplay and the film is going out through Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions beginnning Friday.

Do you plan to see Maggie? Let us know what you think.