So my short description was that it’s a tween Resident Evil. Why? It’s an “I’ve lost my memory and discover it with the audience” premise with some monsters tossed in. That screams RE to me. Overall it was fun.
The story begins with Thomas (Dylan Obrien) being delivered on a freight elevator to a forested environment populated by boys of varying ages, all of whom have no memory. The area is surrounded by tall walls that lead into a maze. There are Maze Runners who run the mazes during the day trying to map them. The maze closes up at night and no one has survived the night in the maze. One of the runners is injured and the leader of the tribe, Alby (Aml Ameen) runs it with Minho (Ki Hong Lee), the lead Runner. They don’t make it back in time before the Maze seals up but Thomas enters the Maze at the last second to help them. They survive the night and discover things that might get them out.
Shortly after Thomas arrives there is another elevator arrival. They’re normally monthly and they always carry a new boy and supplies for the tribe. This one is within a few days (though the passage of time is not expressed well in the film) and carries the first girl, Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), who somehow knows Thomas. There is a message with her indicating this is the last elevator shipment. There are those who think Theresa’s arrival coupled with the idea of trying to escape are bad omems which leads to a split in the tribe. Things get a little Lord of the Flies-ish and the group that wants to escape have to now try their hand at escaping both the tribe and the maze.
Thomas was a bit too impetuous and hot headed from the get go. He arrived with no memory and instantly wanted to break every rule. Maybe we can blame it on memory loss but you think he’d want to get an understanding of what he’s facing before leaping headfirst into the unknown. Of course the tribesmen could have tried to explain things and not just say don’t do it and glower at him.
The silliest thing was Minho’s hair. If he’s been there long enough to be lead runner, he’s been there at least a year and yet his hair is always perfectly spiked, even after a day of running. All the boys clothes seem to stay at a stylishly dirty state as well. Maybe the supplies that came with each elevator shipment included hair product and new clothes.
The movie is part of a trilogy and while the Maze Runner portion ties up well enough there is more than enough lead in for the next part.