4. It's Still a Fan Film
With the exception of the aforementioned cartoon Cthulhu, the movie looks great. It was a Kickstarter for the grand sum of $25,000, which is surely less than most movies spend these days on catering or masseuses for Tom Cruise's ego. As mentioned before, the dialogue is done in an intentionally over-the-top style but the actors are still charming and fun to watch. The sapphic undertones are particularly well done as the love triangle between Marcy, Debby, and the Dungeon Mistress begins and ends with its dismal conclusion despite any dialogue ever pointing it out, even if Chris Ode told us "Marcie and Debbie are just really good friends." Looking over the Kickstarter updates and the correspondence I received from their "spiritual adviser", I really get the feeling that these people took this project seriously.
"Human history is filled with examples of persons using fear tactics to control behavior. Often, this fear is aimed at whatever is different - especially if it's new or otherwise unfamiliar/alien. In the case of D&D-style RPGs, they served this purpose for a few select - and loud - voices during that era." This message gave me the impression that at least some of the people were not only trying to make a funny movie, but they were trying to make a point as well.
Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
The running gag in Dark Dungeons is that it takes place in a world where RPGs make you popular and are taken seriously, really seriously, like super dang-doggone seriously. I mean, so seriously that you'll be surprised how serious it is when you see the total sum of seriousness involved. If those sentences bothered you, this might not be the movie for you. There's not a lot more to it than that. Of course, no one said this movie had any Oscar-worthy ambitions, but I thought by the end it was wearing thin. The actual events of the tract are a short part of a short movie and the rest is embellishment added to give context. The context works pretty well, and I cared a little about Black Leaf despite knowing she was doomed, but I felt like there could have been at least a little more.
Jack Chick's tracts condemn a huge variety of things and the movie could have had a little variety too. Is that missing the point? I'm sure defenders of the movie will think so. But so much time is added to this movie that's just another variation on the same formula: ridiculous exaggeration of gaming + sly gamer reference = gold!
5. Bang For Your Buck
All of the other stuff aside, this movie costs $5 to download and 40 minutes of your life. (Click the link and see for yourself.) If you have any interest in the subject matter you might as well fire it up because it's as cheap as rental and takes up less time than a single episode of most TV shows. Dark Dungeons has been out for less than a weekend and comments on the movie are already invading my Facebook feed.
My friends would probably say that I am taking it way too seriously. Maybe having actually lived it I feel a bit more connected to it, I can't just point and laugh. In fairness, though, if this were a special RPG themed episode of Doctor Who or Supernatural I would have thought it was just fine. I laughed a lot of times during this movie, I have the feeling it will be quoted for a long time (especially since most of the quotes have themselves already been around for years), it seems like a good result of a crowd-funding, and the creative team seem down-to-Earth and friendly. Clearly there are a lot of good reasons to check it out, and, honestly, you might as well. To quote the movie, "Surely, it can't be of any harm to try it just a little bit, could it?"
The only exception to the above call to throw caution to the wind is if you have no connection to the table top RPG culture. If you're scratching your head at terms used above or have never wielded a D20 in your life, I would skip this one. Actually, I would go read my article on getting back into the game, become a gamer with the excellent information therein, and then watch this movie. To paraphrase the movie posters, YOU WOULDN'T THINK DARK DUNGEONS IS FUNNY BUT ON RPGS YOU WILL.
Previously by David N. Scott
10 Reasons David Goyer Must Be Stopped
8 Reasons D&D 5th Edition is Better Than Pathfinder
Ten Things We Learned Attending L.A. By Night: The Grey Ghost Masquerade
10 Things Learned Shopping for a PS4 on Black Friday (At Midnight)
10 Things I Learned Running Game Demos at WonderCon