The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Readers, here’s something you might not know about me: I love being a movie snob.

I know enough movie trivia to be a formidable opponent at “Scene It,” and I can wax on (endlessly) about the virtues (and failings) of renowned foreign and domestic directors. In fact, the movie I’m most likely to pick as my favorite is “Wild Strawberries,” a Swedish movie directed by Ingmar Bergman that premiered the same year my mother was born.

But sometimes, you need to shove that stuff aside and embrace some lowbrow comedy. “The Gamers: Dorkness Rising,” the no-budget “Dungeons and Dragons” parody from writer/director Matt Lancil fits that bill in spades and manages to be pretty damn entertaining.

The film opens with Cass (Brian Lewis), Leo (Scott C. Brown), Gary (Christian Doyle) and Lodge (Nathan Rice) running through a campaign and getting slaughtered (again). After this defeat, the group decides to bring in some new characters in the hopes of finally beating this challenge. The new blood happens to be Joanna (Carol Roscoe), Cass’ ex-girlfriend, who shakes things up, for both the gamers and Lodge, the shy dungeon master.

Ok, so that’s the setup; nothing special, but where “Dorkness Rising” shines is by showing us not only the players at the table, but the fantasy quest they’ve created in their minds (this is also where the no-budget production values shine, and no, I’m not kidding with that comment; they’re great!). A lot of the sillier elements of gameplay (such as waiting your turn to strike an enemy in a battle) are even more hilarious in live action (and one of the gags about a man forgetting his character is a woman is a highlight of the show).

Granted, it’s not a movie for everyone, but you don’t really have to be immersed in D&D knowledge to get the humor or enjoy yourself, and on the flip side, the characters aren’t the stereotypical geeks of more mainstream films. Lancil is gently poking fun at this world, but he also gets that the reason people get so into role-playing is because it’s fun to do this stuff with friends.

And did I mention how funny this movie is?

*Special thanks for to Rev. Sean for the recommendation!

“The Gamers: Dorkness Rising” (2008)

Written and directed by Matt Lancil


Brian Lewis (Cass)

Carol Roscoe (Joanna)

Christian Doyle (Gary)

Nathan Rice (Lodge)

Scott C. Brown (Leo)