Starring: Nathan Rice, Brian Lewis, Carol Roscoe
Writer/Director: Matt Vancil

The Plot

Source: IMDB.com/Matt Vancil

All Lodge wants is for his gaming group to finish their adventure. Unfortunately, they're more interested in seducing barmaids, mooning their enemies, and setting random villagers on fire. Desperate to rein in his players, Lodge injects two newbies into the distrust: a non-player character controlled by Lodge, who the power gamers immediately distrust, and the rarest gamer of all -- a girl. Can the group overcome their bickering to save the kingdom, or will the evil necromancer Mort Kemnon triumph unopposed? A parody of fantasy films and the adventure gaming community, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is a hilarious romp through the world of sword and sorcery -- in this case, a world of exploding peasants, giant house cats, and undead roast turkeys.

The Review

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from this movie. I know adventure gamers, and my mother used to be a dungeon master, but I don't truly know the world and the culture very well. I feared that viewing this film was going to be 90 minutes of me scratching my head, confused by what exactly was going on. Fear not Film Calamity readers, for this was not the case. The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is funny enough and original enough to forgive all the in-jokes and all the stuff that flew over my head. 

The movie takes place in two worlds: the world of the game the characters are playing and the real world. For most of the time, you follow these created characters (played by the actors themselves who are playing the people who are playing the...yeah you get it) in the game world, looking for the Mask of Death to bring back to their king. In the real world, each person has a different personality: the campaign creator/neurotic wannabe writer, the douchey "i kick ass at games" gamer jock, the goofy guy who sucks at it, the college age off-kilter kid, and the most scarce of all gamers, the dreaded girl

The actors in the film are a lot better than I expected to be truly honest. Knowing how low budget and independent this film was, I expected crappy acting. Instead, everyone does an excellent job. The five friends don't even feel like actors playing characters; it's like you hid a camera during a gaming session and just let them play as is. The ease in which these actors do their job is so impressive, it won me over instantly. Also, for such a low budget underground film, the visuals and sets were really well-done and while not believable, they served the film's cheesy premise to a tee.

The movie itself is hilariously entertaining. We get the people in the film act out their characters in the game world scenes to hilarious results, especially with the Bard, who keeps dying over and over again in often hilarious ways (zombies, cooked turkeys come to life, etc.). As expected, some of the jokes did go over my head, but there was enough simple mainstream humor that I did not sweat it. Matt Vancil, the writer/director, has real talent with nerd humor and I can't wait to see what he does next.

I did have a few qualms, however, concerning the real world aspects. It is attempted to give these characters a life outside of the game, but it doesn't work out. For example, the character of Lodge (the dungeon master) and the girl of the group seem to have the start of a romance, but after one scene, it is completely abandoned. It feels tacked on and only there as filler. I felt like if the filmmakers really wanted to do backstory, they should have either committed to it or just not done it at all.

Overall though, this is a movie I recommend, although to be fair, I'm sure gamers themselves will find it infinitely funnier than I did. For all of us non-D&Ders however, there is enough humor and enough originality to sustain multiple viewings. definite non-regrettable rent.


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