Dave Made A Maze

Dave Made A Maze, and then someone made a movie about him making a maze, and now it’s on Shudder. Is it any god? Well… kinda. It’s certainly incredibly creative, artistically impressive and visually something else, I’ll give it that. It’s literally about a girl (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) who gets home one day to find that her boyfriend Dave (Nick Thune) has built a massive cardboard labyrinth in the middle of their living room, and subsequently gotten lost within it. How has he gotten lost, you may ask? Well I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the thing is massive; on the outside it looks like a ten by ten square foot art project that a cat could comfortably cavort about it, but the minute you go inside it becomes an endless maze of hallways, vicious booby traps and confusing tunnels. “It’s bigger than it looks from out there” he yells from inside, and warns her not to come in. Soon she invites a bunch of people over to see this thing including a few of his friends, a pesky documentary crew and a random homeless dude who she thinks is a maze expert (“I said I know *cardboard*” he informs her, clearing up the misunderstanding). Pretty soon all of them follow Dave into this thing and find themselves just as lost as he is, and eventually they start to get killed by the frequent booby traps. So what is this maze, how was Dave able to make it this way and what is the film trying to say? Well, that’s where it lost me a bit, because as visually creative and unbelievably gorgeous looking as this maze is, the tone of the film has this sort of… faux Wes Anderson-y, wannabe Michel Gondry-esque attitude that just started to irk me pretty quick, like a deliberate, forced ‘quaint n’ quirky’ vibe that the actors just aren’t able to sustain for more than a few minutes. What’s more, it attempts this sad millennial set of themes where Dave built this thing because he never was able to finish a project properly, he’s always working jobs he hates and he’s ‘still getting money from his parents at age 30’ when he’s got a perfectly cool little apartment and seems to have found the time to have built a giant magical maze. It’s just a whiny angle and not a good look for the film overall. Those frustrations aside I did really, really enjoy the artistic vision of the maze, it’s blessedly CGI-free and is a wonder of infinite cardboard panels, trippy swivelling walls and origami creatures that come to life and a big mean Minotaur that chases them around. The tone of the acting and attempted subtext may have exasperated me, but they should be very proud of the artistic achievements they’ve crafted onscreen, one could almost watch this with the sound off and be just as transported.

-Nate Hill