Certainly a niche film, GamerZ is unlikely to appeal to anyone who hasn’t had some form of positive experiences with geeky pastimes such as Dungeons & Dragons—its entire premise and subsequent relationships are based upon the escapism and relief from troubled realities that gaming provides to the emotionally detached or troubled youth. Though mostly amateurish in its direction, GamerZ has a surprisingly mature viewpoint on the dangers of throwing all your energies into fantasy: Marlyn, a Goth teen, spends 99% of her life in character as an Elf in order to push aside the pain of a miserable childhood. And the pointy-nosed hero Ralph, who compulsively creates exceptionally detailed virtual worlds, bears a striking resemblance to Max in Rushmore—a precocious kid who could coast to A+ grades if he threw his energies and intellect into his schoolwork (in one scene, Ralph looks up from scribbling gaming notes in class to breezily answer a difficult question).
While Gamerz is nowhere near as rich or interesting picture as Rushmore, it has enough respect for its material to not simply portray its heroes as stereotypical, nerdy losers who cling to role playing because they have no real friends, and stands as a passable take on an oft-labeled industry. Visually, there’s not much to admire about GamerZ, though several sequences—including one of the cloaked gamers trekking up a hill—are direct homages to The Lord of the Rings, which the makers of GamerZ clearly admire greatly (orcs, goblins, and elves are all over the script). There’s a real tenderness at work here, and while there’s nowhere near enough talent involved to make GamerZ more than an average picture, it could easily find its way into enough RPG’ers’ hearts to become a mini-cult classic.