In the movie Prisoners (2013), I can't really wrap my head around one thing: the fact that two victims of the kidnappers - Bob Taylor and Alex Jones - refer to the house as "the maze".

Alex Jones tells Keller that he can find the girls at "the maze", while Bob Taylor literally drew a maze when asked where the girls were. So in what aspect is the house "a maze"?

1 Answer 1


According to this explanation:

It represents the system that abducts children and, more importantly, the state of mind control these children are forced to live in.

After days of torture, Alex Jones finally says to Keller: “I am not Alex Jones”, implying that he was abducted by Holly and that he was given an alter persona. When Keller asks him where the kidnapped children are, Jones replies: “They’re in the maze. That’s where you’ll find them.” Of course, Jones does not refer to an actual maze but to the state of mind control the children are subjected to.

Later, Detective Loki finds a suspect named Bob Taylor who acts in bizarre matter and who was also a victim of Holly Jones. He stayed at her house for three weeks and was drugged with a LSD/Ketamine drug cocktail, which is classic a mind control technique. Bob managed to escape from the house, but while Bob is free, his mind is definitely not. We quickly realize that he is still “stuck in the maze”.

While Bob’s “maps” do not actually lead to the physical location of the children, it leads to their psychological state: Trapped in the mind control maze of their handler. In actual mind control, mazes are an important trigger image that accurately represents a slave’s mind state. “Maze maps” are programmed into the victim’s internal world to keep them from accessing their core/true personality.

  • 3
    While this is certainly an interesting analysis, it's also worth mentioning that mazes play quite a role in the story itself as well as the killer's identity, which I'm not sure is entirely clear to the asker. It's not only abstract symbolism.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Nov 23, 2017 at 14:00
  • This gave me an idea - Mazes are like prisons, except worse. I did some research: turns out that all the mazes that Bob drew were inescapable (save for a few incomplete ones). Going back to the theme of "imprisonment", you can say that one is left to infinitely wander the maze, not knowing that they can never escape it. The "mind control" factor you mentioned is hope - the maze-wanderer is implanted with a false sense of hope, one that keeps him searching for a freedom that is non-existent. I guess Bob had a really good understanding of this concept, hence why he kills himself. Nov 23, 2017 at 20:21

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