A film based on the venerable survival game, where players try to suss out the traitors among them before they’re all dead, is coming in January.
Board game movies have a difficult history. We’ve had at least one good film based on a classic tabletop game (I’m looking at you, Clue), but there have been quite a few stinkers – Battleship; Ouija; arguably the Dungeons and Dragons movie. Despite this, I can’t deny my excitement at the prospect of a movie coming out based on one my first and favourite board game loves.
I first encountered the game as Loup-Garou, French for Werewolf, but many people in the world know it as Mafia. That’s the name the upcoming film will be using.
In the game, each player is assigned an allegiance: you are either a “good guy,” or “villager;” or you are a “gangster” or a “werewolf.” Each night, when all players close their eyes, the baddies secretly vote to kill a member of the other team. Each morning, upon discovering the grisly remains of their friend (this is all usually narrated by a game master of some kind), every player votes and argues over who they think is a bad guy.
Slashfilm is reporting that its budget is upwards of twenty-five million dollars. Here’s the synopsis:
“Mafia” is an action thriller, based on the famous interactive survival game – Mafia. The action takes place in the distant future in Moscow, Russia. Mafia game is a world-wide phenomenon, now the most popular television show ever. Every year, eleven fearless volunteers, from all walks of life, gather together to find out – who are the innocent civilians, and who are the ruthless Mafia. A game, that the outcome of which determines who will live, and who will die. Those who die are hunted by their worst fears, in elaborate and horrifying ways, while the whole world watches in rapacious awe. There are only two ways out, to win and become wildly rich and famous, or to lose and vanish forever into the abyss of your nightmares.
The game has a Russian pedigree – it was invented in the USSR by Dmitry Davidoff in 1986.
This is going to be awful.
I can’t wait to see it.
It is reminiscent of the under-appreciated Georgian-French film Treize Tzameti, about a secret “Russian roulette” tournament, if that film had any kind of budget and was also totally terrible.
I’d like to put a question to Escapist readers, now. What do you think has given us better films – video games, or board games? Which has the most potential? Personally, I can’t think of any game-based movie better than Clue, but I am eager to know what you guys think!