As humanity is threatened by a deadly virus, Maze Runner: The Death Cure begins with virus-immune Thomas (Dylan O’Brian) and a band of rebels carrying out a raid on a prison train. They hope to rescue Thomas’s best friend, Minho (Ki Hong Lee), and other virus-immune young people. Minho and the other captives are being used as lab rats by a totalitarian organisation known as W.C.K.D. (Wicked), which performs torture-like experiments to find a cure for the virus. Many of the prisoners are rescued, but Minho is not one of them. Thomas later learns that Minho has been taken to world’s last remaining city, a walled fortress controlled by W.C.K.D.
Not wanting to put his friends at risk, Thomas sets off by himself but he’s soon joined by Frypan (Dexter Darden), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito). Along the way they battle with bands of virus-infected humans until they make it to the walled city. At this point Thomas must confront demons from his past, because the only way into the city is with the help of the resistance’s greatest traitor, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). With Teresa’s reluctant help they get into the high security area where Minho is being held prisoner. But the rescue attempt has unexpected outcomes and sacrifices.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Fatal viruses; the extinction of humanity; resistance fighters; self-sacrifice
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure contains intense sequences of violence, including close-ups of deaths and some psychological torture. There are some gruesome images. For example:
- The movie’s opening scene features a dramatic raid on a prison train. It involves a speeding 4WD, machinegun fire, a jet helicopter and a loud explosion.
- In several scenes that show psychological torture, a young man is strapped to a surgical table and wired to a machine. He’s given an injection that causes him to hallucinate, and he sees himself being chased by a monstrous creature through a maze of sliding floors and walls. He screams in fear as he experiences the hallucinations.
- A jeep carrying several people turns over and is attacked by a large group of zombies. Dazed people crawl out of the jeep and fire at the zombies. Numerous zombies fall to the ground.
- A defenceless crowd of people is attacked without warning with missiles and cannon fire. Bodies fly through the air and are scattered all over the ground. Panicked people stampede as hundreds of civilians are slaughtered with automatic weapons.
- In one of the movie’s more brutal scenes involving a fight between a man and a young woman, the woman is thrown across a table. The fighters slam each other’s heads and faces into tables, punch each other in the head, pull each other’s hair and try to strangle each other with rope.
- One of the lead characters tries to shoot himself in the head and then stabs his friend in the stomach, killing him. We see a bloody wound on the boy’s stomach as he collapses to the ground.
- A virus-infected girl lies on a bed in a treatment room. She has blood-filled eyes and protruding blue veins all over her face. Her muscles convulse. She is given a large injection and her appearance returns to normal. Later the same girl has a major convulsion and is held down by several guards. Her eyes are full of blood, her skin is covered in raised blue veins, and she acts in a violent and aggressive way.
- A young man violently attacks a young woman, trying to strangle her with his hands before he’s tasered by guards.
- The same youth later stabs a doctor in the leg with a letter opener. The doctor screams out and collapses on the floor.
- A woman is shot and blood spreads across her back.
- In one scene a young woman uses a scalpel to cut into a young man’s neck and pull out a tracking device.
- A young man shoots several guards with a gun that shoots electrical charges. The guards lie on the floor convulsing.
- A young man driving a bus full of scared and screaming children rams several guards who are trying to stop the bus escaping. There are thuds as the bus drives over the guards.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Maze Runner: The Death Cure has some scenes and characters that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There’s a giant creature like a crab with pincer-like claws and long sharp teeth.
- Throughout the movie, there are images of plague-infected humans (zombies) referred to as ‘cranks’. Those in the later stages of the infection look like blood-covered walking dead with blood-red eyes, protruding blue veins all over their bodies, blood-covered teeth, rotten flesh hanging off their bodies, rotten wounds, and torn, filthy, blood-covered clothes. In several scenes bloody-mouthed cranks bend over their victims and eat them.
- Several scenes show a man with a grotesquely disfigured face. The man’s face looks like it’s rotten or has been eaten away. The sides of his face are covered in boil-like lesions and blue protruding veins. He’s blind in one eye, which is milky-white in appearance.
- One scene shows dozens of dead bodies in body bags lying on the ground.
- In one perilous scene three young men jump out of a smashed window in a high-rise building. They fall hundreds of feet and land in a swimming pool. All three survive uninjured.
Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are likely to be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Maze Runner: The Death Cure shows some use of substances. For example:
- A woman sits at a table with a glass and a bottle of scotch next to her. A man enters and says, ‘Taking the edge off, I see’.
- A young man injects a guard with a tranquilizer, and the guard falls to the ground unconscious.
- A young man strapped to a table is injected with a hallucinogenic drug.
Nudity and sexual activity
Nothing of concern
Nothing of concern
Maze Runner: The Death Cure has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the third and last movie in the Maze Runner trilogy , so it’s likely to interest fans of the previous two movies and of the books on which the series is based.
This movie has several violent and disturbing scenes, so it’s most suited to older teenagers and young adults. It isn’t recommended for children under 13 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.
These are main messages from this movie, which you could talk about with your children:
- You should finish what you start, but there’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you have lost.
- There’s no justification for sacrificing another person’s life for the greater good or to benefit humanity.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, trust and cooperation.