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‘Dave Made a Maze’ (review)

Produced by John Charles Meyer
Written by Bill Watterson, Steven Sears
Directed by Bill Watterson
Starring Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani,
Kirsten Vangsness, Stephanie Allynne,
Scott Krinsky, James Urbaniak,
Adam Busch, John Hennigan

 

Everyone has a project that they’ve never finished. A short story. A model car. A table to build. A stool to fix. Whatever.

Dave (Nick Thune) has tons of them. In fact, he’s rarely ever finished anything.

It’s annoyed his girlfriend, Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) and his two best friends, Gordon and Leonard (Adam Busch and Scott Krinksy), but that’s all about to change.

While Annie is out of town, Dave starts a project that he is determined to finish: a maze. More of a labyrinth, really. Complete with booby traps and a Minotaur. All made of cardboard. And much, much bigger on the inside.

So big, in fact, that he gets lost in it. When Annie gets back, all she sees is a bunch of boxes taped together in a complex blob. Some of them are smoking. Dave calls to her from inside, trying to make her believe how lost he is, how dangerous it is inside and how he’s going to finish this thing if it kills him.

Eventually, she calls Gordon and Leonard over…along with half the town, it seems. Against Dave’s wishes, Annie leads a rescue party in to the maze that consists of Gordon, Harry (James Urbaniak) and Harry’s cameraman and boom operator. (He’s making a documentary about the maze and Dave’s obsession, much to the chagrin of everyone involved.)

Then things get really weird.

The maze is amazing. The cardboard aesthetic of everything (including horrific death) is fun and super imaginative. Each room is different and layered with pieces of boxes from projects past. (“Well, at least the box is getting some use.”) And making these fantastical bits and pieces out of cardboard makes everything even more interesting. We’re getting a childlike, surreal view into the mind of Dave. His past, his present and his future all come together to create this crazy world that he’s cornered himself into.

The movie is really, really silly (on purpose). But that works in its favor most of the time. it also helped that Dave is a very identifiable character. He’s a bit of a loser, but aren’t we all in some way? I think there comes a time in everyone’s life where we decide that it’s time to either finish something or get rid of it. Sometimes, purging our lives is dangerous to ourselves and others. Sometimes, we can’t do it without the help of a loved one. Sometimes, we just have to jump in and do it, damn the consequences.

That’s where Dave is. Writer Steven Sears and writer/director Bill Watterson (no, not that Bill Watterson) know the plight, and so do we.

 

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