Dave Made a Maze tells the classic story, made legend in the tales of Theseus, of a band of adventurers lost in the labyrinth and forced to face a vicious Minotaur. This has been told on screen before, with various stylistic takes, in movies like Immortals, Wrath of the Titans, Sinbad and the something or other, Your Highness and Percy Jackson. This film does something really different though. This time the maze and all of its booby traps are made of twine and cardboard, oh and so is the Minotaur.
Dave himself fancies himself as a bit of a bohemian but is more of a loafer. Coming to terms with this he develop a desire to create something and builds a maze in the middle of his living room out of tape and recycling. Powered by his frustrated id, or some other mystical force, his construction takes on a mind of its own though and by the time his girlfriend returns from a weekend away he is lost in the middle of its Tardis like structure. After some deliberation and the most delightful levels of quizzical acceptance of this odd turn of events, she and a few of his other friends and acquaintances decide to go in and find him.
Dave Made a Maze is very straightforward in its approach, as the knowingly on the nose title suggests, yet has some wonderfully imaginative ideas. Focusing mostly on its simple story and characterisation and wrapping up in about eighty minutes, it’s is still full of delightfully quirky little details and one liners that only its own, individualistic conceit could allow. My favourite is the excitable trip wire that gives an irrepressible little giggle of anticipation every time someone steps near it. I also love the moment after someone is killed and the red stuff that spurts of of them is in keeping with everything else in their primary school art class surroundings. “Is this blood?” asks Gordon, Dave’s best friend. “Wait, is this my best yarn?” follows Annie, Dave’s partner. Everything you need to know about her, their relationship and the randomness of the situation is right there in that one, almost throw away line.
Dave Made a Maze is not a new movie, it actually came out in 2017. I had seen the trailer around that time and had thought that it was one to watch out for but had forgotten about it when it then got no fanfare or cinema release. It bizarrely came back to my mind when opening a parcel last week though so I put ‘what’s that film where a guy gets lost in a cardboard maze’ into Google and here we are. I definitely recommend Dave Made a Maze, it is a great example of what you can do with a big idea and a limited budget and while it may not stay with you for ever, it might just raise a little a smile and take you to a bigger world every time you’re unpacking another Amazon delivery. In that sense it could be the perfect film for our times.