(Wes Ball, 2014)
For the first two acts, this is quite a taut and brutal little genre film. That is if you can forgive the way it fulfils every Y.A. consideration to an almost parodic degree, and the way its violence is toned down to allow its target audience to see it on a big screen.
Teenagers forced to play a bloody game, a chosen one protagonist who doesn't really understand what is going on, enemies and allies among his peer group that echo nothing so much as high school, mysterious, cruel adults; a hint of romance, nature vs technology as a motif, a young innocent sacrificed...it's all there, ticked off. But those first two acts are quite pacy, embed the exposition well, and feature a few decently effective spills and thrills.
This is more solidly a sci-fi action film than the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent (it may be relevant that this film, with its hero rather than heroine, is aimed squarely at a boy rather than girl demographic), and it has moments of horror in the scenes of the Greavers, genetically engineered cyborg-spiders that patrol the maze. It is nice to look at, the effects are fine, and the young cast do quite well with the material.
But then the final act begins to solve some of the mysteries, and it all gets quite tedious and wearyingly predictable, from who dies to how to that final ambiguous scene. And the promise of the sequel just ruins everything.