Dave Made a Maze (NR)
Like Stalker, director Bill Watterson's impressively visual Dave Made a Maze concerns a group of people attempting to navigate a living and hostile territory seeded with threats. Dave (comedian Nick Thune), a frustrated artist, builds a cardboard maze in his apartment. Its interior is vastly larger than the exterior, and Dave becomes lost as the maze expands; his girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani), along with the crew of a documentary filmmaker (good old James Urbaniak), cross its threshold to find him.
It's kind of an artisanal, Brooklyn-y riff on Stalker, the maze haunted by a craftsy cardboard minotaur, its passages winding through sculptural, handcrafted death traps, forced-perspective illusions and elaborate art galleries themed on playing cards and piano keyboards. The film is deceptively cute -- in one sequence, the characters are transformed into paper-bag puppets -- but its heart is dark. Though the flying blood and guts are made from silly string and crepe paper, characters actually suffer violent deaths. Cardboard is cheap, and by marshalling a tiny budget toward craft-store set design, Watterson builds a movie that's genuinely bigger on the inside.