This might be the best example yet of 3-D transforming the viewing experience of a particular film. Gothic horror mysteries are all about atmosphere, putting you in the cinematic head-space of someone going through a dark, off-kilter, traumatic experience. Shadow and light tell the story as much as the actors and the dialogue. Director Menzies draws us into the eerie world of the castle and its maze by using all the tropes of the genre-mist, candlelight, ominous set design, stark lighting, secret passages-but with an especially immersive use of 3-D, the atmosphere is that much more palpable.
I found myself watching the background of the frame quite a few times, not because there was anything going on there, but because that sense of space-the depth or "back" missing from background in 2-D-opened up the possibility that something could conceivably happen there, in the shadows. That's what might happen if we were really there in the castle, standing alongside these people, with strange things going on. Our eye would naturally explore the shadows and the corners of rooms. In 2-D, we're well aware any illusion of depth is an illusion-we're more content to be passively directed to watch this flat actor or that flat space. In 3-D, a sense of reality spills into the illusion because it's so close to how we see the real world. I believe it makes us, as viewers, more participatory in each scene; our eye can wander from the main action and still be invested in the scene and its storytelling, but with greater nuance. It's like deep focus, except we really do get the depth. We can see all the way to the backs of sets and feel every inch of that distance between angles and objects. It's this extra layering effect that Menzies absolutely capitalizes on in The Maze. 3-D isn't just an enhancement here, it's integral to the way he designed and shot the film, and to the genre itself. We're living in a Gothic nightmare.
One of my favourite sequences is when Kitty finds the hidden passage leading out of her room. It's full of cobwebs (and the usual iffy bats flapping about). He lingers on the dimensions of that staircase, on its sense of height, and the shadowy mystery leading us up to...a crucial view. It's so creepy in 3-D, that passageway. Menzies is having a good time teasing us. Inside the maze itself is intimate and immersive because he mostly keeps the camera on the two women, but leaves us just enough space to watch the hedges behind them and around them.
The ending was always going to be divisive. I think it deserves points for originality, but I didn't completely buy the explanation.
For me, the acting was very good all round. Veronica Hurst convinced me every step of the way. I enjoyed the mystery, the setting, the exquisite photography, and most of all the splendid use of 3-D to bring a Gothic horror to life. The restoration was so good, the picture quality and 3-D were genuinely jaw-dropping throughout. I've watched it twice and liked it even more second time around. It's a must-own for fans of 3-D andor Gothic mysteries.
Review by Sevenmercury7 from the Internet Movie Database.