Review: The Maze / Cert: 18 / Director: Steve Shimek / Screenplay: Katy Baldwin, Timothy Gutierrez / Starring: Shalaina Castle, Brandon Sean Pearson, Kyle Paul, Tye Nelson / Release Date: Out Now
Post-Cabin in the Woods it’s a bit difficult to take seriously any movie about a gang of teens who wander off into some remote middle-of-nowhere wilderness (where they can’t get a mobile phone signal) because Joss Whedon’s witty and wonderful movie deconstructed and laid bare all those clichés and, in theory, made teens-in-peril slashers off-limits - at least for the foreseeable. Someone should have told the makers of The Maze what Whedon was up to because, if nothing else, we’d have been spared this deeply-dreary, unimaginative offering which we’re a-mazed (yes!!) ever got off whichever sorry drawing board it was conceived upon.
So here we go again. A group of college friends (get out, this lot won’t see twenty-five again) decide to break into a closed corn maze in the middle of the night (as you do) for a game of tag. But wait! There’s some bloke with a knife wearing a red hoodie (how low was the budget again?) in the cornfield with them and before long he’s… well, he’s just stabbing them, one by one.
The word ‘derivative’ barely does this one justice so we’ll try ‘boring’ and ‘pointless’ too and see where they all get us. As murderous mysterious rampaging psychopath movies go, The Maze just doesn’t get off the starting blocks. The script is lifeless, the acting is listless and the killer is just this guy in a coat who doesn’t even come up with gross or inventive ways of killing his victims. The Maze is so bereft of ideas it actually runs out of maze-based steam halfway through and the rest of the film shifts into an only slightly more suspenseful gear as the survivor of the group becomes embroiled in a cat-and-mouse battle of wits with the killer who’s determined to finish the job - whatever it was. I certainly had no idea what his motivation was but with murder methods as dull and unimaginative as these I’d have been minded to advise him to give it up as a bad job and take up something only marginally less tedious - accountancy perhaps.
The Maze is just one big bore. There are no characters to invest in, no sense of excitement, no thrill of the last-minute will-they/won’t-they escape. The corn maze itself is a visually dreary setting and the half-time switch to a cramped Police station just barely saves The Maze from the box marked 'instantly forgettable'. Lame.