Film Review: Dave Made a Maze – 7/10

‘I wasn’t striving for anything. I just wanted to make something…’

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Such is the scatter-gun nature of internet browsing that everybody has a dandelion mind these days. It’s very easy to go from reading about an obscure serial killer to watching cat videos to taking a personality quiz to discover which condiment most closely matches your personality. Essentially, the internet is turning our brains to mush while distracting us with shiny things and flashing lights. What a time to be alive.

It was during one of these online black hole escapades that I came across Dave Made a Maze. I can’t recall what the context was or why it piqued my interest but I evidently downloaded it because it’s been sat on my film list for weeks now.

Dave (Nick Thune) is a man who has accomplished very little in his life so when he spends a weekend painstakingly constructing a fort made of cardboard boxes, he is reluctant to tear it down despite the misgivings of his long suffering girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani). Things get weird when it becomes apparent that the cardboard labyrinth is much bigger than it appears from the outside and it also seems to contain cardboard monsters conjured from the darkest depths of Dave’s underused imagination.

Dave Made a Maze isn’t for everyone but if you are able to cope with a jaunt into the surreal then there is a lot to enjoy here. The humour is offbeat and the story bizarre but the sets are so lovingly crafted and imaginative that it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. Furthermore, the acting is strong throughout and the characters nuanced and likeable but there are moments when it feels like turning this concept into a feature length film is stretching the premise as far as it can possibly go.

That being said, I was reasonably engaged throughout and Dave Made a Maze is different enough and memorable enough to ensure that it more than justifies its existence. You get the feeling that this is the kind of film that Kevin Smith is trying to make these days albeit with limited success.

Dave made a maze and Bill Watterson made a pretty damn good movie.

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