Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials begins with Thomas (Dylan O’Brian), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newet (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) safe in WCKD (‘Wicked’) headquarters. But their sense of safety is shattered when Thomas and his new friend Aris (Jacob Lofland) discover that WCKD is experimenting on young people to find a cure for a deadly disease called the Flare. This disease has wiped out most of the world’s population, turning those it infects into mutant zombies.
After their discovery, Thomas and his friends escape WCKD headquarters and head off across the scorched wastelands towards the mountains. They believe a resistance group known as the Right Hand is hiding there. On the way, they must fight off mutant humans and WCKD soldiers lead by the vindictive Janson (Aiden Gillen). Thomas and his friends then are befriended by a man named Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and a girl called Brenda (Rosa Salazar), who claim they can lead them to the Right Hand. But Jorge and Brenda betray Thomas and his friends to WCKD.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has long and violent sequences and many violent deaths, including executions and suicide. There are scenes that show blood and gore throughout the movie. For example:
- Some scenes feature battles with gunship-style helicopters and soldiers firing automatic weapons. Groups of unarmed mutant humans attack the soldiers and are killed.
- A guard punches a young man in the stomach without provocation.
- A woman talks about ‘harvesting’ (killing) a group of youths, saying that she doesn’t want them to feel any pain.
- A young man shoots a soldier with a gun that fires an electrical charge. The soldier convulses and small bolts of lightning flash over his body.
- One scene shows a partially mummified man’s body with a plastic bag over its head, sitting in a chair.
- In one scene dozens of soldiers attack a civilian compound, firing automatic weapons at the civilians. A soldier says, ‘Every last one of you will die’. Eventually the compound explodes in flames, and the roof collapses on top of soldiers and civilians.
- A man is bound to a chair with his hands tied behind his back. He is repeatedly punched in the face until his face is swollen, bruised and bloody. A man points a gun at his head, threatening to kill him.
- A girl talks about going into her sick mother’s room to find the floor covered in blood. Her mother had gouged out her own eyes to stop herself seeing disturbing visions.
- Two helicopters fire missiles into a rebel compound, destroying much of the compound and killing dozens of people. People trying to flee are shot in the back and chest. A soldier throws a grenade into a group of people, causing an electrical charge to engulf the group with bolts of lightning. An unarmed female doctor who had surrendered is shot in the stomach by a soldier. A pool of blood forms on the woman’s clothing before she collapses to the ground. Rather than surrender to the soldiers, some young men threaten to kill themselves by exploding a bomb.
- A later scene shows images of dozens of dead bodies lying on the ground covered with blankets.
Content that may disturb children
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is likely to terrify children aged under eight years. In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are several disturbing scenes and characters. For example:
- The mutants make animal-like screeching sounds. They have pale skin covered in blue veins, blood-covered mouths and faces, and black teeth. In one scene disturbing tendril-like appendages come out of a mutant’s mouth. In another scene a mutant picks up a rat and bites off its head.
- One scene shows large glass containers containing embryonic alien-like monsters.
- The soldiers dress in battle gear. Their full-face, insect-like helmets look menacing.
- During a walk across a desert landscape, some young people are engulfed in a storm. Bolts of lightning arc from the sky to the ground. One young man is struck by a bolt of lightning, which leaves him unconscious. Later he recovers and seems unhurt.
In addition to the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- One menacing scene shows a rolling table with a covered body on it, connected to a life support machine. The table is being wheeled into a room. Someone says, ‘Once they go through that door they never come out’.
- A youth who is attacked by mutants has bloody scratch marks across his stomach. Later the same youth vomits up lots of blood. His stomach wounds appear badly infected, the skin seems decayed, and a large worm is moving inside the wound. Later he asks his friends for a gun, and it seems like he wants to shoot himself. We don’t see the youth shoot himself, but we hear the sound of a gunshot as his friends walk away.
- One scene shows a room full of unconscious youths suspended from the ceiling. There are tubes and wires attached to various parts of their bodies. Tubes leading from their bodies drip clear liquid into glass jars, as if their bodies are being milked.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by many of the scenes mentioned above.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials shows some use of substances. For example:
- A teenage boy is injected with what’s called ‘a cocktail of vitamins’.
- A doctor injects a teenage girl with a cure for a virus.
- A man coaxes an older teenage boy and girl to drink liquid from a flask so they can get into a dance club. After drinking the liquid the couple start to act like they’re drunk. They have hallucinations of monsters before they pass out.
Nudity and sexual activity
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has some sexual activity. For example, one scene shows a group of young people dancing. A teenage girl wraps her arms around the neck of the boy she is dancing with and kisses him passionately on the mouth.
None of concern
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is the second instalment in the Maze Runner series of science fiction action movies based on James Dashner's best-selling young adult novels. The end of the movie is a real cliffhanger, aimed at leaving the audience hungry for the third movie in the series.
This movie deserves its M rating. It has even more intense violence, blood and gore, and scary images and characters than the first movie in the series. The movie is likely to be very disturbing for children. It’s unsuitable for young children and isn’t recommended for anyone under 15.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Friendship and freedom are worth fighting and dying for.
- Sacrificing the lives of a few people to save the lives of many isn’t OK.
This movie cold you the chance to talk with your children about the following issues:
- Cooperation and trust: throughout the movie a group of young people must work together and trust each other to survive.
- Self-sacrifice: several of the main characters risk their own lives to protect their friends.