A Dungeon Master uses his gaming nights to inspire his fiction, but his friends, who occupy varying levels of maturity, keep derailing his efforts. In an attempt to complete his campaign, he brings in a new player. Her status as the only female in the group provides an opportunity to explore and mock the misogyny sometimes found among male groups of geeks.

Much of this 2008 indie film's humour comes from the interactions between the real and gaming worlds. Even accidental and incidental occurrences affect what we see in the fantasy realm. Many of the gags require familiarity with Fantasy Role-Playing Games, but others work on the strength of their own absurdity. Some, of course, fall flat.

A low budget can drive good ideas, and some low-budget and indie films deliver impressive visuals. This film, for the most part, uses the cheapest effects possible and tries to make that a virtue. The approach does not consistently work.

Sets and costume may be another matter. Some entertainment can be derived from seeing how the filmmakers realize their Epic World on a Community Theater budget. The actors, meanwhile, prove at least adequate. I have no doubt, however, that the director's friends pepper the cast.

In short, you have to watch this film with the appropriate expectations. If you've seen some of the other Dead Gentleman Productions Gamers films, this one works better and manages feature length. The story holds up and it features passable character development. If you're a gamer, an SF/fantasy con-goer, or anyone involved in a larger nerd community, you will recognize these people and probably enjoy Dorkness Rising, at least a little.

And give writer/director Matt Vancil and his associates a +2 bonus for getting this thing made and distributed on a major platform.

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