Jungle
ATLFF 2017: Dave Made a Maze

As kids, we all grew up playing pretend. We built forts out of pillows and whatever materials were laying around, imaging them as massives castles surrounded by moats and defending them from whatever magical creatures our minds could come up with. Dave Made a Maze captures that childlike playfulness and brings it to the big screen in spectacular fashion.

 

Dave (Nick Thune) hasn’t done anything worthwhile in his career, but he believes that his latest project could be something special. In the middle of his apartment’s living room, he has built a labyrinth out of cardboard boxes. His girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) arrives home from a trip one day to discover the huge pile of scaps in the middle of the room with Dave nowhere in sight. Turns out he’s lost in his own maze. Along with a couple of friends, Annie decides to go into the maze against Dave’s wishes to retrieve him. When she enters she discovers that it’s much bigger than the outside lets on and that finding Dave isn’t going to be as easy as she thought. Worse, there’s even a minotaur loose somewhere inside, and it wants out too. In this maze, nothing is a simple as a piece of cardboard.

 

The maze is a character of its own as everything inside is made using cardboard and other scraps of materials. Each unique room has its own vibe. There’s a room containing a giant talking head that’s reminiscent of something you’d see in a Jim Henson workshop.One room has the group wandering through a maze within the maze. At one point they’re even turned into puppets made out of paper bags. You never really know what the next scene is going to bring. All logic is thrown out the window once they enter the maze. When people die - yes, it’s an extremely dangerous maze - their blood pours out in streams of red paper. It’s all just loads of fun.

 

At its heart, Dave Made a Maze is about finding your creative spirit. As crazy as life becomes sometimes, it’s always good to take a step back do something for yourself once in awhile, even if that something is building a giant death maze. It’s a small film with a massive amount of ingenuity that will leave you smiling ear to ear.

 

Dave Made a Maze was the opening night presentation at the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival. The film will be released later this year.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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