Horribly Violent Yet Still Boring
I have a precocious 11 year old daughterdaughter, who is a voracious reader and who has seen plenty of PG-13 movies (always with our supervision so we can talk about anything that comes up that is too mature, etc.). She read this series of books, and we liked the first movie a lot. So, I didn't even really think about whether or not we would see this in the theater. Big mistake.
Not only does the movie do very, very little to move the plot along, but it is absolutely freaking terrifying at a number of points. Remember the zombies from 28 Days, who, instead of shambling along aimlessly, were super fast and aggressive? Well, they're back in this movie. Apparently, a virus infected most if the population and turned them into Speedy Gonzalez zombies.
I've seen plenty of scary movies in my day. I don't mind a surprise or two. But I actually screamed out loud at least 4 or 5 times watching this movie. The worst part was that it was the same gag over and over again. Kids wandering around in the dark. Kids get complacent. Kids stop to navel gaze. ZOMBIES BUM RUSH KIDS AND BITE AND SCRATCH THEM. Oh, and they do this attacking, biting and clawing while black goo oozes from their eye sockets and gaping mouths. And, if that isn't bad enough, one of the kids actually commits suicide by handgun rather than succumb to his impending zombification.
So, my mature, almost jaded, very entertainment savvy 11 year old was actually traumatized by the movie. We went to put her to bed last night, and she burst into panicked tears as the thought of being left alone. It was so bad that for the first time ever on a school night, she came and slept in our bed. She was so scared that she clung to me all night long, and I don't blame her.
As I said, the upshot of it all is that all this violence and terror ends up being simply gratuitous at the end of the film. The kids escaped from WCKD again, just like the end of the last movie. They set off anew for some ill-defined, nebulous destination, and they still don't know what's going on, really.
Truly, it is gratuitously violent and frightening, and accomplishes nothing in terms of storytelling. FAIL.