Dave Made a Maze

Dave Made a Maze is a 2017 American fantasy adventure comedy horror film directed by Bill Watterson, and starring Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Kirsten Vangsness, Stephanie Allynne, James Urbaniak and John Hennigan. The film centers on the titular Dave who builds a cardboard fort that somehow supernaturally houses an entire labyrinth full of deadly traps and creatures.[2] It premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 21, 2017 where it won an Audience Award for Best Narrative. It was released on August 18, 2017, by Gravitas Ventures.[3]

Dave Made a Maze
Dave Made a Maze.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBill Watterson
Screenplay by
  • Steven Sears
  • Bill Watterson
Story bySteven Sears
Produced by
CinematographyJon Boal
Edited byDavid Egan
Music byMondo Boys
  • Butter Stories
  • Dave Made An LLC
  • Foton Pictures
Distributed byGravitas Ventures
Release dates
  • January 21, 2017 (2017-01-21) (Slamdance)
  • August 18, 2017 (2017-08-18) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$34,117[1]


While his girlfriend Annie is away for the weekend, 30-year-old Dave works fervently on his next big art project. Dave has a habit of not being able to finish anything, is apparently jobless and gets his income from his parents, whom he believes are tired of him. He finally has a breakthrough and begins to build something from the center and work his way out. When Annie comes home, she is surprised to find Dave's project: a small cardboard fort that is supposedly bigger on the inside. Dave, who communicates with Annie from the vents he added, tells her not to enter or destroy his project. When Annie shakes the exterior, she is confused by the abundance of noise and machinery she hears on the inside.

Annie calls Gordon, who comes to the same conclusion, and he, in turn, calls several of their friends over, including Leonard, Brynn, Greg, Jane and Harry, a filmmaker, along with his boom operator and cameraman. They also randomly bring over a hobo (because he apparently "knows about cardboard") and two Flemish tourists. Leonard briefly leaves the apartment in disappointment when he learns they cannot enter. Harry tries to get a reaction out of Annie for a supposed documentary he is filming and upon realizing how much she truly cares about Dave, the whole group (minus the hobo) all enter the maze. Annie, Gordon, Harry and his crew stick together as they see first hand the true surreal and supernatural nature of the maze and travel from room to room where they realize that it houses living origami birds and other creatures. Leonard later returns to the apartment and throughout the film is seen following close behind the group, while the Flemish tourists appear to simply be having a picnic in the maze.

Eventually, the main group run into Jane, who, after stepping on a lever, has her head chopped off by an ax (though instead of blood, her body squirts out red yarn and confetti). Greg and Brynn find themselves in some catacombs and Greg trips a wire and is impaled by a trap. Brynn meets up with Annie and the rest and when they return to Greg discover his body is missing. Based on the "paint can prints" Gordon deduces that a Minotaur took his body away. Annie uses a box cutter to cut through the walls and realizes that the maze is alive. As the group jump through the wall, the Minotaur kills Brynn. The group run into Dave, who leads them to safety. Dave admits that he is not sure how the maze came to be how it is, but he knows that it is growing on its own and that it might be connected to his imagination. He insists that they finish the maze so that they can escape, even though he is not sure how. Dave also reveals that his hand is now made entirely of cardboard due to sticking it into an odd vulva-shaped hole.

After several other near-deaths, the group realize that they need to attack the maze at its heart, which Dave neglected to make. They reach a strange cardboard puppet version of Brynn who keeps asking for high fives. They immediately realize it is a trap and Gordon, Harry and his crew keep it distracted by interviewing it while Dave and Annie go off to find the heart. After another surreal moment of clarity, Dave and Annie manage to make a heart resembling a zoetrope. They cut through the wall which causes the maze to react. Gordon, Harry and the crew attempt to catch the fake Brynn which suddenly produces a giant demonic hand. The hand retreats, but the cameraman is dragged along with it. He tosses the bag of tapes to Harry before dying.

The group reunite as Gordon distracts the Minotaur by leading it away. He passes Leonard who is killed by cardboard saw blades. Dave, Annie, Harry and the boom operator set up the heart and using a katana, slice the heart causing all the walls and the entire maze to fall. Everyone finds themselves back in the apartment and proceed to clean up all the cardboard. Harry tasks Gordon with telling the families of those who died and asks Dave what they should call the documentary. Dave sarcastically suggests Dave Made a Maze, despite Gordon's belief that it was a labyrinth. As Dave and Annie toss the last of the cardboard by the dumpster, they fail to notice the Minotaur climbing out along with an origami bird. The Minotaur walks away while throwing up an ILY sign.



Critical responseEdit

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86% based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Dave Made a Maze offers decent storytelling but plunges deep into bold stylistic waters, establishing director Bill Watterson as a fresh and inventive filmmaker."[4] Metacritic gave a score of 60 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]


Award / Film Festival Country Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Florida Film Festival USA May 1, 2017 Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature Dave Made a Maze Won [6]
Sitges Film Festival Spain October 14, 2017 New Visions One Won [7]
Slamdance Film Festival USA January 20–26, 2017 Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Won [8]
Omaha Film Festival March 7–12, 2017 Jury Prize for Best Feature Film Won [9]
Sun Valley Film Festival March 15–19, 2017 One in a Million Award Won [10]
Fantaspoa Brazil May 19-June 4, 2017 Jury Award, Best Feature Film Won [11]
Jury Award, Best Art Direction Jeff White Won
Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival France September 15–24, 2017 Audience Award, Best Feature Film Dave Made a Maze Won [12]
Boston Underground Film Festival USA April 26-May 3, 2017 Audience Award, Best Feature Film Won [13]
Shivers Film Festival Germany November 23–28, 2017 Audience Award, Best Feature Film Won [14]
Calgary Underground Film Festival Canada April 17–23, 2017 Audience Award, Best Feature Film Won [15]
Saturn Awards USA June 27, 2018 Best DVD or Blu-ray Release Won [16]
Calella Film Festival Spain June 22-July 1, 2018 Creative Rosebud Award, Best Screenwriting Steven Sears and Bill Watterson Won [17]


  1. ^ "Dave Made a Maze". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  2. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (July 6, 2017). "Fantasy and Horror Collide in Dave Made a Maze Trailer". Dread Central. Dread Central Media. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (May 3, 2017). "Slamdance Winner 'Dave Made a Maze' Lands at Gravitas (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Dave Made a Maze (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  5. ^ "Dave Made a Maze Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Boedeker, Hal (May 1, 2017). "Florida Film Festival winners include 'Girl Flu.,' 'Rat Film'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  7. ^ Mayorga, Emilio (October 14, 2017). "'Jupiter's Moon' Tops Spain's Sitges Festival". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (May 3, 2017). "Slamdance Winner 'Dave Made a Maze' Lands at Gravitas". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Winners". OHF14. Omaha Film Festival. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Bossick, Karen (March 22, 2017). "Sun Valley Film Festival Announces Winners". Eye On Sun Valley. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Garcia, Eric Ortiz (June 10, 2017). "Fantaspoa award-winning films". ScreenAnarchy. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "Winners 2017". Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival. Les Films du Spectre. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Boston Underground Film Festival: 2017 Awards". IMDb. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Dave Made a Maze (November 30, 2017). "Danke @shiverskn! Honored to take home the Audience Award from Germany's Shivers Film Festival! #AudienceAward #Shivers". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "2017 Awards". Calgary Underground Film Festival. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (June 27, 2018). "'Black Panther' Reigns at Saturn Awards, 'Better Call Saul' and 'Twin Peaks' Top TV Field". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Acte de cloenda i lliurament dels premis del Calella Film Festival". July 2018.

External linksEdit