Dave (Nick Thune) is an unemployed artist who has never finished anything in his life. Stuck in a rut with a million uncompleted projects his lack of drive and dedication is becoming a serious issue in his relationship with his girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani). When she returns from a weekend away however Dave has finally made something, Dave made a maze, although it’s not come out exactly as he planned.
At first glance Dave’s maze looks more like a small pile of cardboard boxes on their living room floor but Annie soon comes to understand that inside is an immense elaborate labyrinth full of booby traps, living cardboard creatures and monsters and Dave has somehow gotten himself lost in his own creation.
Calling on Dave’s best friend Gordon (Adam Busch) who brings along a whole host of other people with him including a film crew, the brave bemused bunch head in in an attempt to find Dave and bring him out alive, a feat which proves far harder than they ever imagined.
The first feature from director Bill Watterson who also co-wrote the movie the surreal set up of Dave Made a Maze hooks the audience straight away but it is the amazing art design and insanely creative sets that the characters find themselves journeying through that transform this film into a mini-masterpiece.
From a keyboard corridor to a room made from playing cards to the giant head spewing into paper swamp to the warped perspective room and so many more the further the film moves forward the more impressive and cleverly crafted spaces we witness.
Added to this is the concept that once inside Dave’s maze the cardboard world starts to take over everything around them. Along with flying origami cranes and creepy critters the heroes also encounter a section which transforms them into paper puppets and worst of all a menacing Minotaur who relentlessly pursues them.
The rules of the weird world also extends to the death traps that several of the gang step on and when people are decapitated, impaled or worse we see a flurry of red steamers or a pile of pink and red paper body parts which is a hilarious way to portray the gore.
A lot of the comedy comes from the characters shock and disbelief at the crazy cryptic warren of cardboard they find themselves in. There are also plenty of meta moments involving the film crew and the director Harry, brilliantly played by James Urbaniak, who constantly gets the gang to redo things for the camera or rephrase what they have said to make it more dramatic.
Full of laughs at the centre of the movie surprisingly is some real drama as Dave attempts to tackle his inability to finish anything for fear of failing, a persistent problem that is driving Annie away from him. Taking the idea of a classic mid-life crisis and transforming it into something so surreal and innovative works wonders meaning we never get bogged down in Dave’s depression or artistic frustration all of which could have made him unlikable and possibly alienated the audience.
Instead the quest to save Dave and defeat the maze, its murderous monsters and rampaging rooms is a fun filled romp that keeps up its energy all the way to the epic ending. One of the most original movies you will see Dave Made a Maze is an entertaining horror comedy with an inspired amount of ideas and inventiveness that you will lose yourself in for sure.
Read all about Dave Made a Maze director Bill Watterson favourite horror film right HERE