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This is a post-apocalyptic zombie psychological horror movie. But above and beyond all of that, it's a heartbreaking drama. And it is very bleak, both visually and emotionally. Like, seriously, every moment of the film is heartbreaking, even the few happy moments. It's the sort of movie I love for how much it moves me, but also will probably never have the heart to watch again, but also wouldn't even think of not keeping the DVD.
In recent years, there have been a fair number of zombie movies that explain the sudden outbreak of zombies as a disease, rather than anything supernatural. And usually they don't even mention the word "zombie," even if the audience knows full well that that's essentially what the movie is about. But this movie treats the disease more realistically like a disease than I've ever seen. It's also a more intimate story than most zombie movies, focusing on the impact the disease has on one family. In particular it's a rarity in that the "turning" doesn't happen quickly, but rather takes several weeks. Which means the person who has been infected knows what's happening to them. They know they're going to die soon, but they also know they can become a danger to those they love. And those who love them have to deal not only with the knowledge that the infected person is going to die soon, but also with the necessity of being constantly cautious around that person, since you never know exactly when they will lose their humanity, and become a danger. (While I wouldn't say the disease in this movie could really be called a metaphor for any particular real world disease, there are at least parallels to real contagious diseases.)
At the start of the movie, an infected girl named Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) calls her father, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and tells him not to look for her. She had run away some time earlier, though I never quite figured out whether that was before or after she'd been bitten by a zombie. In any event, Wade does come find her, and brings her back home. Maggie's mother had died years ago, presumably before the zombie epidemic, and Wade is currently married to a woman named Caroline (Joely Richardson). They have two young children, Bobby and Molly, who soon leave to stay with their aunt, during the few weeks Maggie has left to live with her father and stepmother. Eventually, there will have to be a decision about whether to send Maggie back to the hospital, to stay in quarantine until she dies, but neither she nor Wade want that for her. The alternative is just as bad, though: Wade would have to kill her himself, when the time comes. Until then, they try to live as close to a "normal" life as they can. (Which is obviously impossible.)
Beyond that, I don't want to spoil any details. But the acting is great all around. The visual effects of the infection are... appropriately disturbing. And while there's relatively little in the way of typical zombie scares (there are no wandering hordes of infected), it's still a fairly suspenseful movie, in addition to all the emotional drama.