[Movie Review] ‘Scorch Trials’ Turns Up Action, Lurks Into Horror
The world and mythology introduced in last year’s action hit The Maze Runner (read our review), based on the young adult novel of the same name, is expanded significantly in the high speed sequel The Scorch Trials, lurking into horror territory with the addition of zombies.
Sure they may not be called “zombies”, but the infected “cranks” that now roam the wastelands that were once our greatest cities are crazed, hungry flesh eaters, turning what was a Twilight Zone-esque alternate telling of The Lord of the Flies in the first film into a dizzying thriller with pulse pounding chase after chase, and enough jump scares to qualify as a horror movie.
Leading man Dylan O’Brien is back as Thomas, the resilient good-hearted leader of a ragged group of “immunes” who met while they were all being held in giant testing facility in The Maze Runner. He proves capable of carrying the movie on his shoulders, owning his character more than ever now after a successful first outing under his belt.
Kaya Scoledario is back too as Teresa, but she is given little to do other than appear worn out and worried, until a game changing move in the final act.
A new addition to the cast, Rosa Salazar gets in on the action in a big way as tough and spunky Brenda, commanding the screen as soon as she shows up about halfway into the adventure.
Aiden Gillen of Game of Thrones plays a great slimy villain, knowing exactly how to slither his way into our collective unliking, while Patricia Clarkson returns as the film’s defacto-Emperor character Ava Paige, to Gillen’s Darth Vader.
Thomas and his friends may have escaped the Maze, but as its questions are soon enough answered, new bigger mysteries are opened up, as we learn more about this world, ravaged by a disease that turns you into a savage beast, while still even darker, other worldly foreshadowing is ultimately discovered in a very Matrix-like reveal that I won’t spoil here.
The film moves along at a satisfyingly brisk pace, furthering the story set forth in its predecessor without being at all redundant, creating one of the most satisfying sequels in recent memory.
It’s the end of the world as you knew it in The Scorch Trials, but there is a spark of hope. Turning up the action and lurking into new horrors, the running as only just begun.
Official Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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The Scorch Trials is now playing at R/C KDH Movies 10 in Kill Devil Hills.