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The Maze Runner is a science fiction movie based on the novel of the same name by James Dashner.
The movie is about 16-year-old boy Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), who wakes up in a rusty lift able to remember only his name. He soon learns that he has been delivered into The Glade - the centre of an intricate maze that is inhabited by approximately 60 other teenage boys. They must survive in this entirely enclosed environment, using their own agriculture and supplies to get by. Every 30 days, a new boy arrives.
During their time in the maze, the boys are frequently attacked by Grievers, which are horrifying mechanical creatures that bite and eat the humans. One bite from a Griever turns a boy into a violent, zombie-like creature that tries to attack the others.
Since the original group was delivered into the Glade two years ago, the boys have been trying to discover a way out of the maze, but they've been gradually losing hope. When a girl arrives with a mysterious note, the world of the Glade starts to change.
ThemesTotalitarian authority; rebellion, independence and self-sufficiency; friendship and family
The Maze Runner has a lot of violence, some of it intense and disturbing. For example:
- A woman shoots herself by holding a pistol to her head and firing it. We see her dead body later.
- Scary-looking vicious creatures called Grievers attack the humans. After a Griever bites a human, the human becomes violent, slowly goes insane and attacks other humans. Some of the Grievers eat the humans instead of just biting them.
- A young boy is stabbed and impaled with a large sword-like weapon.
- Individuals are threatened and put into prisons if they disobey authority.
- Several young boys fight each other for entertainment.
- The boys use many handmade weapons in fights, including sticks, stones and knives. Injuries and bloody wounds are shown.
Content that may disturb children
The Maze Runner is too scary for children in this age group.
In addition to the violence described above, young children are likely to be particularly disturbed by the Grievers, which are vicious, giant, robot-like insects. When Grievers bite humans, the humans become insane, zombie-like and violent towards their peers.
One scene shows images of a Griever that has been crushed in the maze, which is also disturbing.
Children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above and also by the following scenes:
- People are put into a trance in which they're told to hold onto internal pain and not to express it. These trances cause pain to the person experiencing them.
- After a Griever bites one boy, the boy is exiled and banished to die in the maze in an emotional and upsetting scene.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Maze Runner shows some use of substances. For example:
- A group of boys drink a mysterious homemade liquid that seems to have the same effects as alcohol.
- A boy is injected with a blue serum.
Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern
None of concern
The Maze Runner has coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Maze Runner is about the strength of the human spirit and the human determination to overcome totalitarian oppression. It offers viewers a great deal to think about in relation to basic survival, the nature of leadership and the difficulties of making tough decisions for a community's greater good.
The movie also highlights the strength of friendship and its power in helping to overcome obstacles, in addition to the foundation of trust, collaboration and respect that underlies the best relationships.
The Maze Runner deserves its M rating. It is very suspenseful and includes some intensely violent and disturbing scenes, including the violent deaths of teenagers. Therefore we do not recommend it for children under 15 years.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Know when to stand up against authority and ensure that your voice is heard.
- Be prepared to talk about doubts and to question the opinions of others.