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Film Review: Dave Made a Maze (2017)

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SYNOPSIS:

Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation.

REVIEW:

Perhaps the most original and inventive horror comedy this year “Dave Made a Maze” is a real treat and breathe of fresh air! With so many horror films following trends and arriving on a monthly basis (aka sudden rush of horror doll films!), it is harder for inventive ones to gain notice. In this case of this release, we expect it to rise to the occasion practically overnight. We were so impressed with Steven Sears story that it’s a wonder this film didn’t go to theatre runs first. I had heard about “Dave Made a Maze” quite a few months earlier which fashioned a pretty engaging trailer. Even in early phase it was already gaining cult-like anticipation the same way you might anticipate a new Kevin smith comedy release.

An advance screener arrived which quickly prompted an immediate viewing. Upon open, we arrive on Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) coming home to her boyfriend Dave’s (Nick Thune) cardboard maze (created inside their living room). When she calls out for Dave, his voice echoes to “stay away its much bigger inside than it looks“.

This scenario itself plays out along the lines of “the loser boyfriend who has nothing better to do and became too attached to his unfinished creation”. From here it gets wacky as friends are invited to witness the cardboard construction erected erupting into a “Save Dave” party. Friends speculate on Dave’s mental condition and needy personality and that it’s all just assumed as a somewhat normal occurrence. It’s a hilarious mix of friends who claim “Dave needs this for his self esteem“. However, Dave now claiming he has not eaten in 3 days begins to cause worry for those in attendance.

It is this turning point that begins our real journey. “Dave Made a Maze” is a virtual trip into fantasy as Anne and her friends enter into the maze. In hopes of pulling Dave out, the group is embellished into a setting that instantly becomes another world complete with ceiling high corridors, traps, entities, and bizarre designs.

Rooms come to life (in some cases literally) filled with intricate cardboard/collage design work and construction schemes that are not only impressive to see, but amaze his friends as to how he found the time to even construct them. The maze evolves as the team makes their way thru with all sort of sections designed for different intentions (not all a product of Dave’s handiwork).

This cardboard inner world does indeed become a real maze for his friends as they work their way thru the various sections. Wrong turns end in elaborate traps killing off those unlucky. Furthermore, as the team digs deeper they are transformed by the maze’s universe (even becoming bag puppets at one point). However, no maze is a real maze without a looming threat which comes way per of a life size Minotaur roaming the inner sanctums. Though make no mistake, all is great fun while being equally impressive in its design and execution.

Viewers will amaze at the work that went into construction which alone is worth the price of admission (note: – cant wait to see the extras on this one). As I watched, I became just as enamored with the construction as the actual premise itself.

“Dave Made a Maze” sets its foundation on a horror-meets-comedy base involving a labyrinth conception that is completely original just in presentation. The horror elements of this movie work perfect with the situations keeping things on the lighter side throughout the whole film. Blood shots are replaced with tissue and red confetti making the movie “almost” family safe.

While every scene made me scratch my head even more as to the “time” it must have taken for this set creation, at the end of the day it’s just a fantastic bizarre lil film. One who is looking for comparisons will undoubtedly cite the feel of this piece as a cross between The “Cube” films and the movie “Labyrinth”.

The acting talents collected are hilarious as the confused “go along for the ride” players who seem perfectly comfortable with the fact that reality has been severely altered upon entrance. Walls, collages and concepts are equally impressive making for not a single design, but several cardboard based concepts complete with moving parts.

Kudos goes out to director Bill Watterson, the writers and all the talents involved. It is a simply a fun film that you see and want to know more about. Digging into IMDB, it appears that the production was originally donated cardboard from a local business. The need exceeded the materials available and so it was onto dumpster diving for more cardboard. What viewers probably don’t realize is that the set was only able to accommodate 2 rooms at a time (average life span 4 hours). As filming moved forward, the next room was under construction for the following scene. Simply amazing in my opinion. I am equally looking forward to see the behind the scenes clips on this one.

While not only recommending this lively piece, I am also suggesting it makes a home onto your movie shelves. Repeat viewings are inevitable (and it simply is a great party movie to present to friends!!).

5 out of 5 stars!

 

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