Friday, January 13, 2017

Movie Review: "Mazes and Monsters" (1982)

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Movie"Mazes and Monsters"
Director: Steven Hilliard Stern
Year: 1982
Rating: PG (TV)
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

A group of four college friends regularly play the fantasy role-playing game Mazes and Monsters. When they take the game into a more realistic setting, the lines between fantasy and reality start to blur. One of the friends begins to lose touch with reality entirely, putting his life in danger. 

"Mazes and Monsters" is a made for television movie directed by Steven Hilliard Stern. It is based on a novel of the same name written by Rona Jaffe. The novel was inspired by urban legends stemming from a false news report that a teen had committed suicide while playing the fantasy role playing game Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D for short. This report also led to nationwide mass hysteria and the belief that the game was in some way evil or satanic and that playing it was actually dangerous. It stars Tom Hanks as Robbie Wheeling because everyone has to start somewhere. Joining him are Wendy Crewson as Kate, David Wallace as Daniel, and Chris Makepeace as Jay Jay. It is these four friends who come together at their college and bond over their shared love of "Mazes and Monsters." When Jay Jay gets the idea to take the game out of the dorm room and into some nearby caverns, Robbie starts to lose touch with reality. He becomes his pretend character in real life, immersing himself in the fantasy while losing his real life identity. He hears voices and starts to enact quests in real life where he gets into dangerous situations with the potential to harm himself and others.

This movie is basically an after school special propaganda piece against the dangers of D&D. It is a pretty awful film with a terrible script, abysmal and laughable dialogue, a thin plot, and a dopey narrative. Tom Hanks does his best to act the hell out of his horrible part in this dreadful film, and though it is clear he has true talent underneath his cheesy dialogue and bad robes, not even one of the best actors to ever grace Hollywood's presence can elevate this part out of the sewer in which it exists. The score and soundtrack never really fit what's going on on screen, and the songs don't match the tone of the film. Most of the songs sound like they are being sung by a bad Carpenter's cover band but with 75% less joy. The entire thing stinks of propaganda as it is clear the makers of this movie were paid to talk badly about Dungeons & Dragons as best they could, but instead, made off with the money and produced this shit-show instead.

If you take the most basic concept of the horribly done "Mazes and Monsters," about a person who gets lost in the fantasy of a game that is often far too real, you could make an interesting psychological horror out of it. This film, however, is based on an ill-informed cautionary tale and on faulty information. Everything about it sucks. Just say no, this movie.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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