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[Slamdance Review] ‘Dave Made a Maze’ Is What Cult Classics Are Made Of

There are a few sequences of words that no writer ever imagines that he or she will have to type one day. For instance, “Donald Trump succeeds Barrack Obama as the next President of the United States” and “Bill Waterson’s first feature film, Dave Made a Maze, can only be described as a comedic retelling of Mark Danielewski’s terrifying House of Leaves,” are two equally absurd statements. Nevertheless, we somehow live in a world where both of these assertions are entirely true.

Dave Made a Maze stars Nick Thune as the titular Dave, a struggling artist that never seems to complete his projects. However, when his girlfriend Annie, played by Meera Rohit Kumbhani, leaves him to his own devices for the weekend, Dave constructs a physics-defying cardboard labyrinth in their living room. When Annie returns to find her boyfriend lost within his own booby-trapped maze, she, alongside a peculiar band of friends and acquaintances, embarks on a quest to rescue Dave before it’s too late.

From the nonchalant introduction to the deadly maze to the collection of quirky characters that show up to save Dave, it’s quite clear from the very beginning that this isn’t your average comedy experience. The clever writing, off-beat soundtrack and meticulously crafted cardboard sets and “creatures” make this one of the most original and entertaining films in recent memory, in spite of (or perhaps even due to) its shoestring budget.

The story itself isn’t all that deep, despite the obvious House of Leaves influences, especially considering how the reasoning behind the maze’s supernatural properties isn’t properly delved into. That being said, the characters are what make this journey worth the price of admission. Bumbling documentary crews, displaced homeless people and slacker friends make for an extremely interesting rescue party. Dave and Annie are also surprisingly compelling, as Nick and Meera have great chemistry together, and the script gives everyone a moment to shine.

Even with the obvious adventure movie vibe, Dave Made a Maze has some solid roots in the horror genre, with creepy cardboard puppet people and a monstrous minotaur creature stalking the characters as they delve deeper into the labyrinth. The film is also exceptionally gory in parts, but the use of red yarn and other household materials as substitutes for blood help make the deaths seem a lot more fun, rather than off-putting. The brief stop-motion and hand-puppet segments can also be quite eerie, though the film still retains that charming, adventurous atmosphere.

In the end, your enjoyment of Dave Made a Maze will depend on your compatibility with Waterson’s odd brand of humor. There aren’t that many laugh-out-loud gags present throughout the film, but there’s a perpetual sense of ridiculousness behind everything that happens to these characters. If you can appreciate that, like I most certainly did, then this movie has the potential to become a cult classic among horror and adventure movie fans alike. At the very least, you’ll think twice before messing around with cardboard in the near future.

Dave Made a Maze premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 21st.


32 Comments
  • zombie84_41

    All I read was house of leaves didn’t even watch the trailer, and I’m in. House of leaves if quite possibly the greatest piece of work. It took me fucking 6yrs to finished the damn book. Because it was such a huge mind fuck. But when I did. I wasn’t the same. I’m still trying to finished his other book Of Revolutions. Another mind fuck. And he just recently made another insane book thats like 2000 pages of insanity LOL. So anything that has to do with that Author even if he didn’t make the film I’m in.

    • Mark Doubt

      I’m with you on House of Leaves. Might be the most accomplished piece of modern literature I’ve read. Up there (with Rebecca, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde) in terms of all time horror/spooky lit.

      • zombie84_41

        It really is. Haven’t read anything else really like it. JJ abrams book was sort of like it but that book was very boring LOL.

    • The similarities are mostly superficial since this is a comedy, but they’re almost certainly intentional. For the record, HoL is one of my favorite books, and that made me appreciate this movie even more.

      • zombie84_41

        Nice can’t wait to see this movie it sounded really good.

  • Mamet006

    We really love throwing that word ‘classic’ around these parts, don’t we?

  • ZIPPY

    You had me until I figured out you were a butthurt anti Trump libpuke. KEEP POLITICS OUT OF IT! The writer of this article lost all credibility.

    • BloodyDisgusted

      Look at this kuckle-dragger. I’m surprised you didn’t use the word “cuck.” Loser.

      • ZIPPY

        You know when I am looking for political commentary I go right to bloody disgusting.com. Its a horror site! Who cares about the writers delusional political beliefs. By the way judging by your comment you are just another uneducated intolerant libpuke. Have a great weekend.

        • BloodyDisgusted

          Yes, I’m the uneducated one. Good game, pissant.

          • ZIPPY

            Thanks for reconfirming your mentality.

      • Chris Davis

        Cuck – loser! How’s that libtard?

    • Here’s a fun fact: I’m actually not from or even currently in the United States at the moment. That doesn’t make the situation any less absurd, though.

      • ZIPPY

        Your delusion will only continue to keep you from being a productive member of society. The fact that you are not a U.S. citizen and are currently in another country makes your statement on Americas president absolutely meaningless. Please be assured your opinion of President Trump is not valued. My problem is not with your political beliefs its the fact that I come to Bloody Disgusting because it has nothing to do with all of the political crap and media bias that is going on. I came here for horror articles and reviews. Don’t worry I as many will find another actual horror site that does not have useless libpukes forcing their agenda using articles supposed to be about horror. If I want political commentary I will look for it from actual news outlets that have actual credible journalists. Have a great year. #BOYCOTTBLOODYDISGUSTING.COM

        • Mr. Dry

          Oh no! We’re gonna loose the one and only, great internet crusader, first of his name ZIPPY! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITHOUT YOU?! WHAT WILL THIS SITE BE WITHOUT THE GREAT ZIPPY?!?!!

          • I miss ZIPPY.

          • Mr. Dry

            Remember those times when the great ZIPPY was still around, boycotting things? Oh the great great ZIPPY, master of boycott, lord of internet justice who left towards unknown frontieres… probably dreadcentral.

      • Not to mention whether you’re for or against Trump, “former reality show host is current President of the United States” is still not something ANYONE thought they’d ever be able to say two years ago.

        • ZIPPY

          I had no idea this site was CNN. I thought it was a completely different site that had nothing to do with politics. My bad.

          • Your opinion is as valid as any. Writers can choose to inject their views/opinions as part of a commentary on anything whether it’s film or…well, anything. You can then choose to disagree with their reasoning behind doing so. Free world and all.

          • ZIPPY

            Good way to have readers shun sponsors. If I want politics I would go to a news outlet instead of bloody disappointing.

          • ZIPPY

            And the consumer can choose to boycott. Free world for all.

          • You are correct. 🙂

    • Tweedy

      So your under the impression that anyone who dislikes Trump sorry President Trump is a liberal…..wow

    • I thought all the Trumpsters were going to be happy after he won the election, but they seem as angry as ever.

    • Tweedy

      Time to “Zip” it snowflake

    • Tweedy

      Can’t take the heat get the f;$& outta the kitchen. Trumps president now criticizing is gonna happen no crying now snowflake!

      • Right Is Right

        Typical nonsensical liberal ranting.
        Please learn to speak English before you attempt to use it as a weapon.
        You can go to bed now.

  • Mark Doubt

    Thanks for writing about this – I was totally unaware of it, and it sounds as though its a lot of fun. Very much looking forward to seeing what sounds like an utterly charming movie.

  • Geno1987

    God dammit I can’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing that orange fucker being talked about somewhere. Not even on a horror movie news website.

  • F. This

    This looks bizarre and I enjoyed House of Leaves which I think would be unfilmable…I would like to see how this turns out.

  • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

    Wrong Bill Watterson though…

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