‘The Scorch Trials’: Yet another post-apocalyptic teen drama? | Film Review


Brinley Hineman // Contributing writer

I decided to check out The Scorch Trials last weekend, the second installment of The Maze Runner series. As I sat down in my seat, I braced myself for the worst: was this a waste of a Saturday night and 10 bucks?

Thankfully, this action flick did not leave me disappointed.

The film starts fast, throwing the audience into a scene where the main character, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), and the other survivors from the first movie are running from a helicopter into a highly-secured building. Creatures that look like zombies are not far behind.

Inside the building the survivors are rescued by a group led by a scientist named Janson, played by Game of Thrones star Aiden Gillen. Within moments of his first appearance, members of the audience begin to question his true intentions.  Inside the compound for the rescued teens, his secretive ways imply that Janson may have some skeletons in his closet. 

In no time at all, Thomas grows suspicious of Janson and does his best to disrupt order and sneak around the building. His efforts reveal that their “rescuers” are really an extension of Wicked, the group responsible for building the maze the survivors escaped in the first movie. Thomas tries to convince the group of their danger they are in, but everyone else in the compound naively believes that they are far away from the grasp of Wicked. but before long the facade crumbles and Janson turns on them.

This results in running. Lots of running. Running from the bad guys, running through creepy abandoned buildings and running from what appear to be zombies. If you thought The Maze Runner had lots of running, get ready for The Scorch Trials – just as much running (if not more) in a whole new setting: the desert of the Scorch.

The Scorch Trials feels similar to The Walking Dead with its zombie-like creatures chasing down Thomas and his group of innocent teenagers. The group comes across isolated “towns” where inhabitants vanished without a trace. Watching the survivors struggle to maintain their humanity and loyalty to one another made me feel like I was watching a Walking Dead spin-off.

It’s a good 45 minutes into the movie before the viewer has an “aha” moment: the zombies are unfortunate souls infected by a virus called “the flare.” Though the virus is observed and mentioned throughout the film, questions surrounding it are left answered: what is “the flare,” and how does one get it? Is there a cure? What does it do to its victim?  Don’t get excited – you’ll have for 2017’s sequel The Death Cure for answers.

It’s obvious that the movie is doing its best to keep viewers on the edge of their seats and willing to come back to see the next installment. Answers only dangle like carrots in front of their noses. Just when the audience thinks they have a conclusion, something new is thrown into the mix. It gets annoying, with no questions from the previous film being answered in this one. All viewers can do is hope The Death Cure, the third installment in the series, will offer some clarity.

All in all, the film is one worth watching. It has enough action to keep viewers interested, a hinting at an unfolding love story and is cinematically pleasing enough to keep any audience member impressed.

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To contact Lifestyles editor Rhiannon Gilbert email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com

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