Teens may think they have it tough nowadays, but if we’re to believe the ideas of movies set in a dystopian future (Hunger Games, Divergent among them), things could be much, much worse.
Things are certainly bad for Thomas (O’Brien), who wakes up in a lift hurtling upwards until it screeches to a halt and opens up into a field that’s surrounded by high concrete walls. He has arrived in the Glade, home to a group of teenage boys led by Alby (Ameen) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster), who are living a sort of Lord Of The Flies existence with no memory of who they were before (they only remember their names) or how they got there. What they do know is that they are trapped by the walls that surround them, which open each day to reveal a gigantic maze, but seal each night to keep creatures they have named Grievers from killing them. Their only hope is that the fastest group of boys, the runners, will one day find a way out of the maze.
Based on the novel by James Dashner (actually, the first of a trilogy), this features some strong characterisation in the first half of the movie, as Thomas learns about his fellow captives, especially Alby, Newt, sweet Chuck (Cooper) and alpha male Gally (Poulter) and then abandons that for some full-on, slickly-paced action in the finale as the boys finally come face to face with the Grievers and set events in motion that put them more in peril than ever before. It’s well performed and nicely shot – however, because the movie is based on the first of three books, there is no real conclusion, so viewers may feel frustrated by the ending that offers more questions than answers. Parents should note the movie has a high body count and, while teens won’t find the Grievers at all scary, younger audiences will (see below).
Is The Maze Runner suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Younger viewers (under 10) may be scared by the Grievers. They may also be upset by the deaths (and there are quite a few) of some of the characters.
This film is aimed at older children and isn’t suitable for younger viewers.
There are intense scenes of the characters running away from creatures and the threat of being infected, plus violence among the captives.