Dave Made a Maze
directed by Bill Watterson
starring Nick Thune and Meera Rohit Kumbhani
Butter Stories, Dave Made An LLC, Foton Pictures
Sometimes you just can’t leave guys alone. Annie (Kumbhani) goes off for a weekend trip, and while she’s gone artistic hubby Dave (Thune) gets busy with cardboard. He build a maze that from the outside looks like a refrigerator box designed by David Siegel. But inside, there are dozens of rooms, some deadly monsters, and more than a few fatal booby traps. Like a low rent TARDIS, It’s also one of the coolest spaces I’ve ever seen. Animated origami cranes flit about, a Tiki good spews tissue paper, and left over props from 2001: A Space Odyssey drift along. Dave is earnest and defensive, Annie long suffering to a fault, and his friends come over to save him with a party. They all get trapped in the maze as well, including film maker Harry (James Urbaniak) and his crew who come along to make a documentary. It’s a surreal matrix of fantastical spaces and unintentionally ominous creatures.
Everyone here is likeable, even if they have to die. Dave and Annie are a modern Any Couple working to make a life with each other, and they are reasonably successful. Harry provides the sub textual humor with his inappropriate interviews that puts the “Me” in “meta.” Sound Boom operator (Frank Caeti) takes physical abuse and never makes a squeak, plus he’s the spitting image of Animal House’ Kent Dorfman. The set really is cardboard and there’s almost no CGI. Stop motion animation is the rule when needed, and while the cardboard set is decidedly “No Tech,” each monster and each room is a gorgeous wonder. This is a fantasy trip to a slightly solid dream world, and even though a few actors are chopped into high quality knitting yarn here and there, this is a story that brings back the wonders of expanding hidden universes that hid in plain sight when we were all children.
This film was presented as part of the Florida Film Festival