The Maze Runner is a 2014 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film directed by Wes Ball, in his directorial debut, based on James Dashner’s 2009 novel of the same name. The film is the first installment in The Maze Runner film series and was produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, and Lee Stollman with a screenplay by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, and T.S. Nowlin. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, and Patricia Clarkson. The story follows sixteen-year-old Thomas, portrayed by O’Brien, who awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is, only to learn he’s been delivered to the middle of an intricate maze, along with a large number of other boys, who have been trying to find their way out of the ever-changing labyrinth — all while establishing a functioning society in what they call the Glade.
A teenager wakes up inside an underground elevator with no memory of his identity. A group of male youths greet him in a large grassy area called the “Glade” enclosed by tall stone walls. The boys (“Gladers”) have formed a rudimentary society, with each assuming specialized tasks. Their leader, Alby, says that every boy eventually recalls his name but not his past. The boy learns that a vast Maze surrounding them is the only way out. During the day, designated Runners search the Maze for an escape route, returning before nightfall when the entrance closes. No one has ever survived a night in the Maze.
While in a competition with another boy named Gally, the boy suddenly remembers his name: Thomas. The next day, he is attacked by Ben, a Runner who has been stung and left delirious by a Griever – deadly techno-organic creatures that roam the Maze at night. Ben is forced into the Maze and left to die, as there is no cure for his condition. Alby and Minho, the lead Runner, later retrace Ben’s steps inside the Maze. Minho reappears at dusk dragging Alby, who is stung, but they are unable to reach the closing entrance in time. Thomas runs into the Maze to help, leaving all three trapped. Thomas lures a Griever into a closing passageway, causing it to be crushed. The trio manages to survive the night, returning the next morning.
The first-ever girl arrives in the elevator, with a note saying that she is the last one to enter the Glade. She recognizes Thomas, though he cannot remember her. Thomas, Minho, Frypan, Winston, and Zart enter the Maze, locate the Griever corpse, and remove a beeping mechanical device from inside it. Gally claims Thomas has jeopardized the fragile peace between the youths and the Grievers and wants him punished, but Newt, the group’s second-in-command, instead designates Thomas as a Runner. Minho shows Thomas a hand-constructed model of the Maze based on previous exploration. The Maze’s numbered sections open and close in a regular sequence. Thomas realizes that the device corresponds to a section within the Maze.
The girl, Teresa, has two syringes filled with an unknown substance. One is used on Alby, and he recovers from the Griever sting. Minho and Thomas venture back into the Maze with the device and discover a possible exit. A laser then scans the two, and the exit closes. Thomas and Minho start to run away as traps activated by lasers nearly kill them. That night, the Maze entrance does not close while others open, letting Grievers pour in. A massacre ensues as the Gladers struggle to fight back or hide. Alby, Zart, Clint, and several others are killed.