In the midst of a festival featuring scary and gory movies, Gamerz provided a welcome change of pace. The title sounds appropriately geeky, but the movie is essentially an old-fashioned coming-of-age relationship comedy wrapped in the universe of role-playing gamers. The film from Scotland had its North American premiere at Fantastic Fest this week.
Gamerz is set in contemporary Glasgow, which is unusual for geek films. Ralph (Ross Finbow), who is starting his first semester at the local university, is obsessed with a role-playing fantasy game (along the lines of Dungeons and Dragons) that he's created himself. He creates elaborate Lego mazes in his bedroom, and sketches them in the middle of physics classes. In fact, he takes a teaching assistant job just to gain access to the departmental copy machine so he can duplicate his rulebooks ... and discovers forbidden depths of the university buildings that would provide a fantastic setting for game nights. Ralph soon takes over as gamekeeper of a student union group and leads them into the secret tunnels to play, winning approval from fellow gamer Marlyn (Danielle Stewart), with whom he's smitten.