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Maze Runner, The


Stars: Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Kaya Scodelario, Blake Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, Joe Adler

Director: Wes Ball

Yet another sci-fi survival trilogy looms as teenage boys are deposited monthly, one by one, to The Glade, a stretch of grassland, woods and fertile ground, all surrounded by high metal walls, which part at dawn to reveal the beginnings of an equally metal maze beyond. At night, the howls of the monstrous mechanised Grievers echo through the compound as the 'Gladers' cower in their hammocks, their names the only thing they remember from their pasts.

Newest arrival is taciturn Thomas (O'Brien), who falls foul of camp bully Gally (Poulter), but soon becomes determined to find a way through the maze to freedom. The only youths allowed into the maze are the Runners, who build daily attempts to chart the labyrinth that surrounds them.

When Thomas dashes into the maze to rescue a wounded Runner (Ameen), he and Minho (Lee) manage to kill (perhaps dismantle would be a better word) a Griever; what they find in its innards may provide the key to escape, and disproves the legend that 'no one has ever survived a night in the maze'.

But then there is the Changing (very nasty) - and just what has the World Catastrophe Killzone Department to do with all this?

Acting is a bit varied, but O'Brien makes a convincingly dogged and driven hero, and all the chase-and-combat stuff inside the maze is excitingly done. It's an intriguing, if hardly logical concept, with lots of rather less interesting in-fighting going on within the Glade itself. No doubt two sequels await our pleasure, especially as one character declares 'Phase 2 has begun' just before the end. Whether or not we need another Hunger Games/Lord of the Flies clone is another matter.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 15 Oct 2014