Plot: Gerald (Richard Carlson) is engaged and soon to be married, but his world is turned upside down when some tragic news arrived. His uncle has died and his trust now belongs to Gerald, so he must venture to the estate to get the affairs in order. His fiancee Kitty (Veronica Hurst) worries when she hasn’t heard from him in weeks, then a letter arrives and informs her that the engagement is called off. As she is certain there must be more to Gerald’s situation, he travels to the estate herself and with the help of her aunt, plans to learn the truth. But the visit leads to more questions, as Gerald seems to have aged a lot in mere weeks and his personality has gone through some changes, a drastic shift from what Kitty knew and loved. She is ordered to leave the next morning, but can she uncover the truth about the mysterious estate and Gerald’s changes, or will she never know what happened to her beloved fiance?
Entertainment Value: A slow burn, gothic style chiller, The Maze crafts some impressive atmosphere and builds to a wild crescendo that has to be seen to be believed. As the narrative unfolds, the red herrings drop and twists are rolled into motion, keeping us reel in from start to finish. As the obvious solutions vanish and things take some strange turns, the more unorthodox possibilities remain and it becomes clear that in The Maze, just about anything could happen. The build up is quite effective, with beautiful visuals and an eerie atmosphere that gains strength as time passes, giving us an unsettling vibe once we arrive at the estate. The finale could divide audiences, as some will find it to be outlandish and out of place, while others will embrace it as the ideal way to cap off the narrative. I loved how The Maze concludes and I appreciate the finale on multiple levels, as spectacle and as potential subtext. Richard Carlson runs with the material and turns in a fun performance, while Veronica Hurst is also good as the outsider thrust into this unusual chain of events. I think The Maze is a terrific thriller and has a lot to offer both classic film fans and genre buffs.
No nakedness. This has elements of romance, but this was 1953, so no sexual content or even untoward moments. No blood. The movie leans on atmosphere to fuel the chills, so violence isn’t missed in this one. The slow burn nature of the narrative ensures that mood and visuals have a prominent role as well, so while not soaked in blood, the movie never fails to deliver some thrills and chills. There’s some makeup work and a fun, odd use of special effects at one point, but I will let suspense remain intact so you can experience that first hand. The dialogue is fine, but reserved and serious in tone, so not a lot of wild lines emerge here. A little melodrama at times, but the script is mostly sincere and so are the performances. While I do love melodrama, this more sincere approach is crucial to allow the finale to shine. As for craziness, the unsettling atmosphere and wild finale are the lone wackiness, since the rest of the movie takes a serious, grounded approach, as I mentioned before.
Overall Insanity: 5/10