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THE MAZE
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Steve Shimek

Starring:
Shalaina Castle
Brandon Sean Pearson
Clare Niederpruem

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A group of college kids goes for a late night walk through a corn maze, not knowing that there is a killer hiding in the corn. One by one they are stalked through the maze, until the shocking surprise ending. Seriously, corn mazes are creepy in full daylight, WHY WOULD YOU EVER GO INTO ONE AT NIGHT!!! Dumbasses.
Is it good movie?
No really, I'm serious. What kind of a idiotic knob gobbler goes into a corn maze at night? That's like hiding in the old abandoned cabin or the creepy condemned asylum with a back story. Kids, they never learn. Anyway, despite the horror cliche of kids doing stupid shite and getting themselves killed for it, I really dug The Maze. It was an old school style slasher with some tense moments and some decent acting. Clare Niederpruem carried most of this movie on her own, and she did a fine job indeed. The shooting and the atmosphere were creepy and tension filled, the camera work was solid and the minimal score served to increase the creepy factor. And I have to say, the Wonderland touches to the corn maze were very nicely done and creepy as hell.

But my biggest gripe with the flick was the killings themselves. Most of them are done so quickly, with a series of quick cuts and only the occasional bit of blood, that it took away from the tension built throughout the movie. It was like waiting for the big payoff, only to be disappointed when the actual good were delivered. And the killer, while having some ace moments hidden in blurry shadows, really wasn't that menacing. The slightly built silent stalker (despite the twist at the end, it was a slim woman in the red hoodie for the maze scenes) just didn't inspire much fear or dread, except when he moved really fast. But that brings me back to my original gripe. After a quick chase, it would have been nice to see some Aja-style knife rippage just to keep the adrenaline going, but the movie failed to put out.

What it did give us is a tight, original story, told with a good pace and a few surprises. When the killer is revealed near the end, he obviously comes off as the crazy closeted killer type, and who he is makes for a tense standoff at the film's finale. Most of the characters are believable and sympathetic, and for an indie flick the camera work looks awesome. We've got atmosphere galore, and director Shimek really puts the minimal location to good use (and how could he not, with the built in creepiness of corn mazes).

While not really offering anything new to the stalker/slasher genre, The Maze was very well done, and a good time to watch. I had fun with it, but your mileage may vary.
Video / Audio
Video: I'm not entirely sure since it wasn't marked, but it looks like 1.85:1 Widescreen.

Audio: Again, I'm not sure, so I'm guessing English Dolby Stereo 2.0.
The Extras
Just the Trailer on this screener.
Last Call
Slickly shot, dripping with atmosphere and a little tension, The Maze is a somewhat by the numbers slasher, marred by quick cuts in the gore and a less than dreadful villain. The cast was pretty spot on, and the pacing was nice, so there was never any chance for the audience to get bored. Plus the cover art is most awesome (made me think of Children of the Corn). With style and creepiness, this flick serves to reinforce what I've known all along - corn mazes are bad, bad things, and should be avoided at all costs.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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