Dave Made a Maze review: A frustrated artist gets lost inside his cardboard fort in Dave Made a Maze, possibly the most original film of the year.
Dave Made a Maze review by Kat Hughes.
Tired of countless cookie-cutter genre films? Fed up with seeing the same thing happen to the same batch of stock characters over and over? Yearning for something original? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then look no further than the insanely original Dave Made a Maze.
Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) returns home from a work trip to find her living room taken over by a cardboard fort, and her boyfriend Dave (Nick Thune) nowhere to be seen. It’s soon revealed that Dave is trapped inside his cardboard creation having gotten lost. Annie, frustrated by the chaos that Dave is causing, and his insistence that she must not destroy his latest venture, embarks on an expedition to rescue Dave with the help of several of his friends and a documentary crew. Once inside the fort they realise that something very peculiar is occurring, as hidden beneath the basic card is a strange and deadly world of origami birds, paper-cuts and a constructed Minotaur. The group must do all they can to survive the twisted labyrinthine creation.
Dave Made a Maze is a quirky, warmhearted comedy that will leave you with a massive smile on your face. The premise is very out there, but once you embrace the insanity, you’re in for a whirlwind tour of some very imaginative filmmakers. Featuring a blend of animation, live-action and elaborate sets, Dave Made a Maze is essentially the horror film that Wes Anderson would create. It’s bright, bold, and completely batshit!
The stand-out of the film production is the set design, everything has been practically made and inspires that child-like sense of wonder that has been lacking in films for decades. It throws right back to the likes of Labyrinth and The Never-Ending Story, it’s simply magic. The ingenuity and inventiveness of the sets will leave you breathless. There’s an odd sense of whimsy and innocence to everything, for example, when people usually perish in a horror film blood and guts fly everywhere, here it’s red paper and wool. It’s such a simple and silly idea, and very unique way of handling the expected gore, that it comes off as charming.
The plot takes the back seat, enabling the setting to really shine, and with this kind of film, it works. There’s enough of a story to satisfy, and the cast pack a lot of warmth and charm into their roles. From a narrative perspective the film may simply be that Dave Made a Maze, got stuck in it and now needs rescue, but there’s a so much more to this one than meets the eye. Much like Dave’s maze itself, there’s much more going on on the inside than there first appears to be. There’s an unexpected complexity to what is unfolding with an important message about finishing what you start, and the plight of the modern adult dreamer at it’s core.
A whimsical and ambitious feature that embraces audiences nostalgia for fantasy films of yesteryear, Dave Made a Maze is the perfect off-kilter comedy to spend a couple of hours lost in.
Dave Made a Maze review by Kat Hughes, October 2017.
Dave Made a Maze is currently playing as part of the Grimmfest programme.