I do try to watch a fair amount of Indie films. Granted, most of them are ones that I hear about from Your Movie Sucks, who does great “Films of...” videos. Introduced me to a lot of films I had never even heard of before I saw his videos. The film that I am going to review on this post is one that I had never heard of until today. Before I get to it, there are a few points I want to clarify. For starters, I am not a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) fan. Nor am I a fan of table-top gaming. I may play games for story, but I never got into that scene, and I doubt that I ever will. The ways that I play games and digest story just don’t fit with corny and often-silly fantasy stories in those kinds of games. For those who like them, good on you. Don’t let anyone shame you for your hobby, just as I don’t let people shame me for mine. I wanted to clear that up, because this film is centered around a game of DnD, and the people playing it. Another thing about this movie – it isn’t on a DVD. You can find it on YouTube. No joke, it’s right there. So small-time that it isn’t hard to find. Does that hurt it? Not at all.
Another thing you should know is that this film is amateur as fuck. No kidding, the budget is non-existent, the effects are laughable, and the sound is hilariously-bad. Here’s the thing – the film knows this. The makers of this movie are fully aware of the movie’s shortcomings. It plays it off with a wink and a nod, and that’s part of the film’s charm.
The plot centers around a group of guys who play tabletop games together. When one of them’s ex comes and wants to join their crowd for a new game, a story about DnD, quirky friendships, the rules of a game, and a bond that grows between players unfolds. Wow, that sounds kinda serious. Thing to remember – it’s not. Nothing in this movie is serious. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and makes sure to let you know that you don’t either. When you can turn off your expectations for a masterpiece, you can see this film for the passion project that it is.
Still, what about the elements we do see? After all, we keep hinting that it is worth people’s time. What about it is? Well, the thing that bonds all the disparate elements of the film is the characters. A group of “friends,” who joke, condescend and give each other shit, it’s clear that they do have some affection for one-another, and play off how tight they are with a lot of great character development over the course of the game. Not only that, there are more than one set of characters to develop. The first is the people in the real world, and the next are those in the game. Granted, the wall between those groups is so thin that it might as well not exist, but that’s part of the charm. Is the acting great? Well, in the DnD world, not at all. But that’s deliberate. These characters are stereotypes, based on the alignment system of DnD, for those who know what I’m talking about. Just because we aren’t fans of the game doesn’t mean we know nothing about it. I am chaotic neutral, after all.
Next up is the cinematography. Calling this film’s budget shoestring is being nice. This movie had NO budget. At all. Like, none. It’s budget was a bunch of people who clearly were passionate about this project coming together and making a movie for fun. Still, they do put a lot of effort to make the film look good, and for the most part, it does. This movie is funny. Really, really funny. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, like myself, there is still a lot of great humor to be found. The passion that was put into this pays off with how well the jokes play off the characters and make fun of both stereotypes of the game and the game itself. I will actually defend that this is one of the most unique comedies that I have ever seen. The corniness of it might be off-putting to you, but I was able to see past that, because it’s clear that there was passion. It’s like the evil principle in Matilda, her character may have chewed the scenery, but it was obvious that the beast of a woman who played her was having so much fun with the role that the audience was able to get into it as well.
I don’t have a lot more to say, because yeah, there are problems with this movie. It’s corny. It can look absolutely ridiculous sometimes, like people LARPing on a Saturday afternoon, but you know what, it is still a movie that I recommend. If you are willing to put that aside, and enjoy this passion project, then go on YouTube and look it up. I genuinely believe that it’s worth your time. Given the problems, it sounds like I’m saying that it’s so bad it’s good. But I’m not. Believe me, that is not what I am trying to get across. This is in no way a bad movie. It’s actually really good. That said, it will appeal to a very specific demographic. Take that for what you will.
7 out of 10