WTF: A Big Budget, Sci-Fi Adaptation Of The Card Game 'Mafia' Exists, Has A Trailer And Everything

You may know it as Mafia or you may know it as Werewolf, but chances are strong that you've played it. It's one of the simplest and best known card games ever created. A group of people play as the citizens of a city. Most players are innocent bystanders. A few randomly selected players are villains out to kill off the good guys. These bad guys know who each other are, but the good guys know nothing. It's a classic game of bluffing and mistrust and a great way to add flavor to a social gathering.

And it is now the inspiration for a not-inexpensive Russian science fiction action movie. Yes, not only has someone decided that adapting this simple game of social deduction into a movie was a good idea, but they've decided that it should look like Blade Runner, The Running Man, and Tron got tossed in a paint mixer. This is somehow crazier than Monopoly being transformed into a Goonies-esque family adventure. The creative minds behind Mafia had to take at least a dozen absurd left turns and leaps of judgment to arrive here. This movie sounds like a crazy joke. How does this exist? Who made it? What is man? Why are we here? Is there a God?

Prepare to have your brain boiled by the Mafia trailer, which you can watch after the jump.

At first glance, you might be convinced that the Mafia trailer is a prank, a fake short. However, the production values are pretty top-notch – not as slick as an American movie, but really solid. In fact, the film has a reported budget of $10-$25 million and will premiere at the American Film Market next month. This is a real movie that actually exists and is not made up.

Now watch this trailer so we can talk about it.

Okay. What is this thing? Like, seriously. Why does a movie version of this card game have to take place in a rainy, dystopian future where everything glows like it's on The Grid? Why is the movie about a twisted game show where people play actual life-or-death games of Mafia when the game itself actually offers a theme and narrative to be adapted? And if this is an evil game show sci-fi thriller, what's up with that exploding plane? Why are characters running from the ground as it crumbles behind them like they're in a Roland Emmerich film? Why are there sharks? Good God, why are there sharks?

Actually, the official synopsis may answer a few of those questions:

"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.

Seriously, hearing that booming voice recite the moderator's narration of a typical Mafia game in the most dramatic way possible feels like a prank. "The city goes to sleep; the Mafia awakens" is the kind of thing that gets said around a kitchen table covered with chips and beer bottles, not in a massive chamber where people in futuristic jumpsuits play a life or death game while strapped into bizarre sci-fi pods.

Remember that scene in Peter Berg's ill-fated Battleship movie where the alien ships fire artillery that is suspiciously shaped like those plastic pegs from the board game? If that detail gave you a headache, Mafia will probably give you an aneurism.

This movie's mere existence defies explanation, but we'd be lying if we said we had no interest in seeing this. Here is a project that obviously attracted millions of dollars in funding, but is seemingly made for no one. It's like someone looked at that fake trailer that transformed Tetris into a grim 'n gritty science fiction film and decided that was a good idea.

There are actually a lot of great board games that would make for terrific movies. Mafia is not on that list. This movie is a terrible idea, but it's also the kind of terrible idea that we have to see. This really shouldn't exist and there's something special about that. It's hard to not be interested in a movie that is seemingly so committed to such a ludicrous premise.