If you’ve got a hankering for some action heavy teen dystopias but you’ve already watched Divergent too many times (once is more than enough) and you just can’t wait until The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 drops this November, you’re in luck. We’re just a couple of weeks away from 20th Century Fox’s latest entry into this lucrative market, The Maze Runner, and they have a new feature plus a pair of freshly minted TV spots to keep you occupied.
Adapted from the best-selling young adult novel by James Dashner, you probably guessed from the title that there is both a maze and people who run through it. And you are right on both counts. The plot revolves around a young man named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) who wakes up in a place called The Glade with no memory of who he is or how he got there. They’re penned in on all sides by high walls, but every morning they open up to reveal the titular puzzle.
This feature introduces you to the maze and the runners. As with everything in the Glade, there are strict rules and a tight schedule. The walls close up every night, and trust me when I say that you don’t want to be stuck out there after dark. We’ll get to why in a moment. You know right away that Thomas is going to be a maze runner, and that he’s one for following rules (what are rules for if not to be broken?), and this gives you the lay of the land.
As we said, one of the rules is that you get your ass back to the Glade before darkness falls and the walls close. Why? Because of the Grievers. They’re a nasty race of creatures that patrol the maze after dark, and are described almost as part mechanical part organic. It’ll be interesting to see them rendered on screen, though we do get our best look yet at them here. It’s fast and blurry, but they do look rather threatening.
You also learn a little more about the set up in this spot. There are a number of other boys who arrived before Thomas—there’s a serious Lord of the Flies thing going on in the Glade—and a new one shows up every month. Things gets screwy, however, shortly after Thomas pops up as another new addition arrives much sooner than expected. And it’s a girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), something that has never happened. Taken together, this signals big changes and trouble all around.
With everything so hectic and in flux, it is more important than ever that the Gladers find a way out. And here they discover a clue that just might tell them where they are, what the maze is all about, and most importantly, how the hell to get out.
Directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner opens everywhere on September 19.