Hello friends! I suppose it's a two article kind of day today. Today I'm going bring to your attention one of the most interesting and original movies I've ever seen. Without further ado, here's my review of the Canadian claustrophobia, Cube.
I first watched Cube back in 2009, and I was engrossed in the mythos and terror within the frames. Recently, I revisited this flick when I bought a 10-pack of horror movies. I couldn't exactly remember why I adored this sci-fi horror flick so much the first time, so I ripped open the plastic covering and plugged the DVD into my laptop, eagerly awaiting another foray into the technological terror. Cube takes place entirely in a three-dimensional maze of 14 x 14 x 14 foot rooms which are all unnervingly identical, other than the color scheme. The story opens with a man, Alderson, waking up in the Cube and looking around. Each of the walls has a hatch which opens up to reveal an identical room with a different color. The first thing I noticed about Cube is its clever lack of background music, and total lack of context. The film doesn't hold your hand or provide exposition for who this person is or why he is in this mechanized maze. Without a word, Alderson opens a few doors and decides to enter a red room. He climbs silently through the hatch and steps down into the next room, when suddenly the door locks behind him, and something hits the man. And then we see the consequences of haphazardly choosing to climb around in the Cube:
Alderson is quite literally cubed (very funny, filmmakers) by a wall of mesh which retracts into the ceiling, awaiting its next victim. From this first scene, we are introduced to the terror of the Cube and what awaits our next batch of characters. The opening is tackled expertly, and by utilizing silence rather than ambient music and dialogue, we are left merely to process what we witness firsthand. I found this to be highly effective in setting the tone for the movie.
Following the slicing and dicing, we are introduced to a group of amnesiac inmates from all walks of life. We have Quentin, the police officer and de-facto leader of the group, Worth, the sarcastic and depressed office worker, Holloway, a hippie doctor with conspiracy theories galore, Leaven, a 20-something math student, and Rennes, a professional prison escape artist in his 50's. A lot of the effectiveness of Cube comes from the cast's interactions, and it soon becomes clear that each of the characters are in the Cube for a reason. Cube is an independent film, but the actors all turn in solid performances in this paranoid flick. I won't give away anymore spoilers because I really think you should give this film a watch, but I'll give you three reasons why this flick deserves your attention.
#1: The Traps
The traps in this flick are very interesting, and provide the primary motivation for our characters, with most of the movie seeing our protagonists trying to avoid these deadly machinations. All manners of death can be found here, including flamethrowers, acid attacks, sound-activated spikes, razor wire, and more. All are interesting, and all are equally deadly, providing some great tension. The victims of the Cube develop a semi-successful system to trigger the traps by throwing in a boot and seeing what happens. While some of the CG is a bit dated, it all works toward the deadly atmosphere of the film and is more than ample motivation for the characters. The Cube itself functions as one of the characters. It may be sterile, massive, and deadly, but it plays fair. There are rules which must be followed, and a method to the madness. However, contrary to modern cinematic belief, cool traps can't carry a movie on their own!
#2: The Mystery
The gargantuan maze gives the viewers and the characters plenty to ponder, and very few answers. What is the Cube? Who made it? Why would a seemingly random group of people be subjected to death traps and exhaustion? There are far more questions than answers in this flick, and they all add to the excitement and fun of this bloody tale. Every time a solution is provided, a new question arises. The maddening void of information only increases the paranoia felt by the Cube's victims, and is one of the major reasons why Cube is such an interesting film. Never before have I seen a film where almost nothing is explained, and we are expected to fend for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. That is, until the sequels. (More on them another time!)
#3: The Ensemble of Characters
The writing in this movie is convincing, and the characters drive the plot forward in earnest as their fight for survival becomes increasingly desperate. The tension between our protagonists is palpable in the face of death on all sides, but the most fascinating thing about this sci-fi endeavor is the transformation experienced by the characters. Nearly every single character in Cube undergoes a gradual and profound metamorphosis through their experiences. Some of them are reshaped into resourceful pillars of hope, while others slowly unravel and unleash their more animalistic tendencies upon the group. All the while, we bear witness to a collective descent into madness and despair as sanity slips away and our group is whittled down.
All in all, Cube presents us with a dark and deadly mystery, inventive, Saw-inspiring traps, and larger philosophical questions about the nature of life, death, and strength of the human spirit. While not a perfect film, Cube succeeds where many have failed by mixing solid performances with simplistic yet captivating sets and a terrifying premise which will have you trying not to imagine waking up inside. I highly recommend this flick to anyone who likes horror and character driven plot lines!
If you made it this far, congratulations and thanks for reading! Feel free to let me know what you think about this flick down below, and as always, have a KILLER day!