Dave Made a Maze (2017) – Film Review

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Director: Bill Watterson
Cast: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Adam Busch
Certificate: 15

by Sarah Morgan

There’s this unemployed artist guy called Dave. He’s bored one weekend while his girlfriend’s away, so he builds a labyrinth from cardboard in his lounge and fills it with bizarre sculptures and pictures. Problem is, they come alive, the labyrinth expands and Dave gets trapped – and it’s up to his pals to rescue him.

And that, in a nutshell, is Dave Made a Maze. The problem is, that simple synopsis doesn’t do it justice.

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“Most unusual”

I described the film to a bemused friend as like Theseus and the Minotaur, but with crafts. And while that might make a handy tagline, it doesn’t really get the overall impression of the project over, but that’s perhaps because it’s one of the most unusual movies I’ve ever seen.

I can’t even nail down its genre. It has elements of horror, fantasy, comedy and adventure, but with DIY thrown in for good measure.

And to be honest, an inability to categorise it is one of the reasons why I love Dave Made a Maze so much. That and a crucial element that links it to Doctor Who – the labyrinth turns out to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

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“Anything but a jolly jape”

When Dave’s befuddled girlfriend arrives home to find him trapped inside, she thinks simply tearing it apart will free him, but she couldn’t be more wrong. She calls their friend Gordon for help, but when he can’t figure out what to do either, he brings round more of their pals who turn the entire thing into a bit of a joke.

However, on venturing inside, it’s anything but a jolly jape. Instead, various members are killed by boobytraps, including an over-enthusiastic woman whose demise is met with one of the script’s best lines: “Did she die, or did she just turn into a craft project?” remarks one witness.

The survivors, including members of a camera crew brought in to record the event, then face a race against time to escape before being devoured by a minotaur.

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“Completely original”

The largely unknown cast play it straight all down the line, which works a treat, while director Bill Watterson and his co-writer Steven Sears deserve a pat on the back for their invention. However, it’s the crafts people and special effects folk who created the labyrinth and its inhabitants who deserve the most plaudits, because the set is extraordinary.

The disc contains several special features, including a making of documentary that details the work of the cardboard manipulators involved.

Bonkers, gripping, funny and completely original, this is a film that has to be seen to be believed.

‘Dave Made a Maze’ is released on Blu-Ray by Arrow, £24.99


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