DIRECTOR: Bill Watterson
Meera Rohit Kumbhani
Dave is an artist who builds a cardboard fort in his apartment out of frustration. When his girlfriend Annie returns after being away. She finds that Dave is now trapped in his own creation. When Annie goes and leads a band of oddball explorers into the fort on her own rescue mission. It will soon become apparent that they should have listened to Dave and his warnings about entering the fort as it's laced with boobytraps, pitfalls and an array of creatures.
I first heard about Dave Made A Maze on one of my favourite Horror Movie Podcasts. The group were talking about whether or not this could be reviewed or even classed as a horror movie. Due to the story being whimsical in nature and all of the gore and violence that is shown is done in a way that feels both creative and playful, they were debating about the genre. They ended up not including it in their best of lists for that year because they had concluded that it wasn't a horror film.
After hearing them discuss the film, I was all of a sudden interested in this movie. I believe that Horror is a subjective thing. It is different for every person. I think with my last review of Brawl In Cell Block 99. The type of genre of these two stories can be discussed and debated. But should they be able to be reviewed here on Schlock Horror, though? In the case of Brawl In Cell Block 99, I believe it should be as it's so violent and dark. It lends itself and feels adjacent to the horror genre. After watching Dave Made A Maze, I think that it also has those elements.
Will Dave Made A Maze scare people? No. This is not spookiest in the slightest. This feels like it has elements of an action and adventure movie that took me back to the classic Steven Spielberg's franchise Indiana Jones. The story is filled with enjoyable boobytraps that made me think of the poison darts from Raiders Of The Lost Ark or the boulder chase. I felt that the adventure element gave this a sense of excitement. The fact that the movie is so fun will be one reason why film fans will dispute IMDB listing this as a horror film.
The next element of Dave Makes A Maze that I wanted to talk about is the comedy. This movie has that indie dramedy sort of mood to it. The tone and the comedic far outweigh any of the horror elements here. You won't find even the biggest scaredy-cats hiding under the covers here. This is all about the fantasy and fun. It's another reason why people will pull out the pitchfork and torches and set fire to anyone who tries to call this a horror film. In most cases, they are right on the money. This is the type of horror movie that I feel Michel Gondry would direct.
Dave Made A Maze while not big on the storytelling feels like it conveys a lot of what it has to say through the oddball and bizarre visuals. You will not likely see a film that looks anything like this in 2017. Some may even say that this is style over substance. However, I enjoyed every single second of it. I mentioned Michel Gondry in the above paragraph. If you've ever seen his music videos with Bjork or any of his films, he has one of the most distinct visual styles that I've ever seen, and this looks like it came straight out of his mind.
When it comes to the horror side of things. I think what makes this one eligible to be reviewed for Schlock Horror is that it features this boobytrapped cardboard labyrinth where people end up dying in glorious ways, and it features a menacing minotaur and plenty of origami creatures. The film looks like an art project exploded in here. People are decapitated, impaled, and pulled to their deaths. The blood and gore that is used here are all done with streamers and glitter. It's all art supplies replacing the carnage, and it makes for a visual feast for the senses.
What I think works well here also is the characters. I enjoyed all of their relationships and friendships. I think that they felt authentic in a world that was unrealistic. While some of these characters feel like they are there to add a body count and aren't really fleshed out. The central characters really do hold this story together. I wanted to see them make it out of this labyrinth alive. I think this all comes down to the writing and acting. Everyone is in fine form here and believable.
Our lead actor is Nick Thune. I know him from the 2016 horror movie Urge. I thought he was great and incredibly mean-spirited in his role. His girlfriend is played by Meera Rohit Kumbhani. I felt that she was the heart of the movie. While we care for Dave in this story. She is the one that risks her life to save him and through the whole thing. I wanted to see her survive. Lastly, we have Adam Busch as the best friend. I enjoyed him as Warren in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Here he is playing a less evil character and gives him to shine as a comedic talent.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A guy cuts his hand on a piece of cardboard.
- A woman is decapitated when she steps on a boobytrap.
- A man is impaled on a spiked trap.
- A woman is barged over by a minotaur, blood sprays out.
- A man is pulled into a hole, and red streamers come out.
- A man has his stomach ground up.
All blood and violence are done with art supplies.
Dave Made A Maze not be your typical horror movie. In fact, many would call this a comedy or an adventure film before they ever classed this as horror. But amongst all of the visually gorgeous cinematography, the set design, the colourfulness. There are set-pieces that piece this story together and play like your standard SAW film. While there is no gore or bloodshed to be found. What this feels like is some art-installation come to life. I guarantee you will not see anything else like this in horror 2017.