THE MAZE (2010)
A group of five friends from the town decide to visit a giant corn maze in the country but arrive after it has closed for the evening. Unable to wait until morning, the group decide to enter the corn field and have a game of tag in the darkness, deep within the maze of corn. Unbeknownst to them, a psychopathic killer, lurking within the corn fields, decides to play along and the friends must find their way out of the maze in order to survive.
THE MAZE is a slasher set in one of the most scariest places you can be – a cornfield. Corn grows to an incredible height and once you’ve ventured into the fields, especially one designed as maze, it’ll take quite some time to find your way out again. This eerie setting heightens the feel of claustrophobia as the characters struggle to find their way out, gradually going deeper within the fields. To create the tension even more, creepy Alice in Wonderland type scenes are set up within the maze, such as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and these later become a stage for the killer to proudly show off his work.
There’s a healthy mixture of female and male characters within the film, two of which are a couple and another two have had a relationship in the past. The characters are likable though we only get to really know them once they’re chasing one another in the corn maze. The killer, on the other hand, stalks the fields wearing a red hoody and isn’t the most intimidating of characters, though I suppose if you did spot someone lurking in the fields with you I’m sure it’d startle you enough. The red hooded killer swaps between stealthily hunting down the teens and walking up towards them in plain sight. This erratic behaviour, along with the average way in which he dispatches his victims, disappoints in what could have been a cracking film. Unfortunately, the hoodie stumbles around awkwardly like he’s a lost chav looking for his supplier of hashish, which breaks the tension in the otherwise decent, straight-to-DVD teen horror.
There are many good qualities to THE MAZE though, one being the setting which moves from the corn field to the police station in the latter half of the film. The cast do an acceptable job, particularly Shalaina Castle as Jordan, in portraying teens despite being older than their characters’ ages. The score suitable compliments this well shot film, which leaves the only niggle being the killer himself. Though I’ve classed this as a slasher, gorehounds will be disappointed as there’s not much of the glorious red stuff on show. Instead, THE MAZE plays out as more of a thriller-type horror film with events leading to an interesting, if not slightly obvious, conclusion.
One thing I did observe whilst watching THE MAZE was that it seemed to be a nod to horror films gone by; The corn fields of Children of the Corn and the red hooded killer of Don’t Look Now. Whether this is intentional or not doesn’t matter, it was enjoyable to spot different tropes of the genre, which there are plenty of in this movie.
THE MAZE isn’t groundbreaking stuff and we’ve certainly seen it before done better, but it’s likeable in it’s own little way. The effort gone into the film is clearly visible and should be commended on its efforts to scare and entertain.