Last month I had the opportunity to attend the preview launch of Revelations Perth International Film Festival at Luna Leederville. The preview movie was kept a secret until a few minutes prior to it starting. The screening turned out to be a little independent movie called Dave Made A Maze.
Dave Made A Maze introduces us to Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) who comes home to a cardboard box fortress maze in the middle of her living room, built by her partner, Dave (Nick Thune). She attempts to coerce him to leave his maze as he claims to be lost inside and can’t find his way back out. After going back and forth, Annie and her friends decide to enter the maze to get him. What they find as they enter is a far more “magical” world than they expected. Inside they occasionally turn into puppets, come face to face with dangerous paper birds, a psycho paper-mâché woman, and a Minotaur who wants to kill them.
It is as ridiculous as it sounds and the creators certainly never pretend it is otherwise, however, this aims it at those who like quirky, cult-style movies.
Dave Made A Maze was made on a micro-budget but that hasn’t restricted its uniqueness and creativity. Bill Watterson (director and writer) cleverly combines movie references, ’80s and ’90s adventure, comedy and horror films with our childhood fantasies. Let’s face it, most of us at some point in our childhood have built a fortress and had imaginary battles with some creature. The most creative aspect of the film are the sets – built entirely out of cardboard boxes, they are as remarkable and innovative as they can get. Just shows it’s all about talent and imagination rather than just budget
Surprisingly, few of the cast involved are well known in the industry though some are recognisable by face rather than name. Kristen Vangsness (Criminal Minds) plays a small but interesting role, Adam Busch (Buffy) plays Gordon who mostly provides the intended comedic elements, and James Urbaniak (Review & Sex and the City) plays the serious and fame hungry amateur reporter.
Although it is creative and unique, Dave Made A Maze starts to drag half way through as the storyline becomes repetitive and beyond absurd. One has to be able to suspend all disbelief in order to make it through the entire running time. Needless to say, this movie could have benefited with further editing to make it shorter because it certainly feels like the running time is longer than 80 minutes.
All of that would have mattered less had the movie ended with a great twist or surprise. The conclusion of the story is a let-down and feels unfinished – almost as if they had run out of time, ideas, and money all at once and decided to throw in the towel.
I rate it 5.5/10
Dave Made A Maze is part of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival line up.