Woman in the Maze (2023) 

During a work trip to go see properties for a land developer, a woman rents a large house that contains more secrets and danger than she expected.  

Written by Scott Gore, Matt Midgette, Hannah V. Nance, Mitesh Kumar Patel, and Rob Smat, and directed by Mitesh Kumar Patel, Woman in the Maze is a haunted house film with a few twists. While the twists aren’t exactly never-seen-before, they are mostly effective here, giving the film something more than just a woman in a house with things that go bump in the night. For the seeker of extreme scare, this will not be the film for them. For those looking for something with some tension and a few scares here and there, mostly a plot that requires a bit of thinking, but not too much search for the ghosts here, Woman in the Maze works. The meaning of this is that for casual horror viewers, this film will work just fine, but for more hardcore horror fans, this will not be the film for them. Overall, the story is decently written, decently directed, and decently put together. Basically, this is a decent haunted house film for the low-key horror crowd, perfect for those looking for mild spooks to start the Halloween season right.  

The cast here is led by Meredith VanCuyk in the part of Gabbi Reynolds, the titular woman in the maze, the employee of the land developer who goes to the middle of nowhere to find properties for him to build on. She gets most of the screen time here and does decently well with it. She’s on her own often, but makes it feel like something more than just a woman talking to herself. Her performance mostly works with a few moments that are a bit off but could easily be attributed to the writing or the directing here. Playing opposite her and as a sort of love interest is Joey Heyworth as Owen Bannister, a character who mostly feels part of the décor. He’s there, he helps with some exposition, but the film would not be all that different (until the end) without him. The way Heyworth plays the part is charming and unassuming, so it basically works as well. Overall, the cast basically works, meaning that they do mostly ok, but there are a few character issues that plague each of them, things from the story that make their performances seem out of place at times. In the end, the performances are ok, giving the film more decent work like the rest of, well, everything.  

When it comes to how the film is shot, it looks, you guessed it, decent. There are a few sequences that could have used a bit more attention in terms of lighting and framing, but overall, most of the film looks ok. There is a neat kaleidoscope effects that happens a few times, but it’s predictable due to the literal use of a kaleidoscope by the lead. Those images, however, are more interesting and bring something to the film. The cinematography, the editing, the special effects, etc are all ok. There is something here, but at the same time, it’s predictable, it’s decent, but not much more.  

It’s always easier to review films that are absolutely amazing with top marks all around or absolutely abysmal with just nothing good on the screen. Woman in the Maze is neither of those. It’s a decent film, decently made, but nothing more and that can be frustrating at times. There are some good ideas in here, but they all feel a bit overplayed in how they develop and what they end up bringing to the screen. It never passes into the really scary realm or anything shocking. It’s middle of the road horror with some tension, but not too much. It’s the kind of film that feels like it’s made to please moms, non-horror-loving moms of course. It’s got enough to be an easy watch, but not enough to make it a new horror film to come back to over and over again.