by Zakary McGaha
Warning: This review has spoilers.
I don’t like writing bad reviews. I don’t enjoy using gigantic amounts of snark to tear things apart. But The Maze, a 2010 horror film directed by Stephen Shimek, deserves more than snark: it deserves super snark.
The Maze is a film I used to see all the time back in the days of video stores…as in, I saw the DVD collecting dust on various shelves. I don’t recall ever having picked it up, which is strange considering its poster is pretty neat. I guess it’s true what they say about psychic abilities: they’re stronger when you’re a kid.
I knew avoiding the thing was necessary without knowing anything about it. These days, my psychic abilities must have diminished greatly considering I was excited when I saw the familiar poster pop up on one of my streaming channels.
I went in expecting a fun, Halloween-tinted slasher story about people in a corn maze. I figured a nostalgic chord would be struck. Being a country boy, I have fond memories of corn mazes. They’re the perfect settings for slasher stories because anyone can easily hide along the trail, and if they know the layout better than you, you’re in for a doozy. Given this, how could a slasher film set in a corn maze NOT be good…or, at the very least, passable?
Watch The Maze if you want to see how the proverbial “they” can screw up the most foolproof of concepts.
It’s a common thing among people who love shitting on horror movies to say, “Them characters is stupid.” But, concerning this movie, they’re entirely justified. The “killer” of this film (who turns out being the most non-imposing dirty cop in the history of law enforcement) has everything going for him in terms of carrying out his sadistic fantasies with ease.
He finds himself up against the most incompetent, ANNOYING group of personality-lacking losers who’ve ever shamed the whole of cinema with their presence. We learn literally nothing about any of them (except stupid shit), and, unlike in good slasher movies, none of them are interesting enough to keep us entertained before they get killed. Hell, I don’t even care about “liking” the characters in slasher movies before they’re killed. I just want characters who are…I don’t know, “fun” to watch? Not boring?
Anyway, non-characters aside, let’s focus on the kills. Uniformly, every single one was lame. The “killer” (who I will continue to reference in quotes in order to exaggerate his lameness) carried around a wimpy switchblade or something, and all he did was shank and cut people.
The blood was minimal, and the “killer” spends the entire movie looking like some sort of “no-one-understands-me” teen in a red hoodie and jeans. He’s quite the scrawny villain, which made it hard for me to wrap my head around how he was able to swipe at everyone with his switchblade.
Said “killer” also spent a lot of time doing stupid shit, like putting his victims in chairs and placing hats on them.
Coming up with things to say about this movie is hard due to its overall emptiness. It was basically a generic, poorly done, passionless slasher movie that ended up being a dirty cop movie for the last twenty minutes.
There are no reasons to watch this movie: none of the characters (including the “killer”) are interesting enough to watch, there’s zero gore, there’s no style, there are no themes…there’s, simply, nothing.
It’s hard to imagine why this movie was made. They couldn’t have possibly thought that people would pay to see it.
I probably come across as a sour reviewer, but I’m not. I like cheesy, generic horror. It’s my thing. My only stipulation is that it’s at least made with fun. I mean, if watching this movie felt like a chore, I can’t imagine what making it felt like.