Director – Vincenzo Natali
Cast – Nicole De Boer, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Maurice Dean Wint, Nicky Guadagn, Wayne Robson, Julian Ritchings
Release Year – 1997
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Cube is one of the most innovative horror/suspense films in recent times. Releasing in 1997, this film is before it’s time and brought viewers the philosophical and moral torture that “Saw” did SEVEN YEARS LATER in 2004.
This film follows six very different people all waking up inside a giant cube with thousands of rooms in it. Each of these different people are placed there for a reason and all come with different skills needed for their survival. With a plethora of deadly(and gory!) traps inside the “cube”, our six characters must place aside differences and work together if they want to make it out alive. But as they continue on throughout the cube, new problems arise and they not only question why they are put there in the first place, but they realize they are underestimating the dire situation they are in.
I really love this film, and find it to be not only innovative but very well executed and very well written. Director/co-writer Vincenzo Natali really struck gold with this film and only had one other feature film under his belt before he took on this project. His use of camera angles, dark atmosphere, and a chilling musical score really sold me on this film…and that’s only the beginning. This film’s character usage is amazing as well and provides most of the conflict in this film. We get an overly masculine detective named Quentin, a brainy math whiz named Leaven, a paranoid doctor named Holloway, a guilt-ridden pessimist named Worth, a mentally disabled person named Kazan, and an escape artist named Rennes. The use of these contrasting characters from all walks of life really add to this film’s ability to keep you glued to the screen and provides for a very interesting story.
The tension on this film is great and never lets you off the hook for more than a few minutes, party in thanks to the fact that there are so many traps in the cube. Even better, when the tension caused by the “traps” is not taking effect we get some great tension from the paranoia and insecurity of the characters who are slowly going insane inside this deadly maze. Genius! I love that there are so many creative pseudo plot-twists in the film that sneak up on the viewer and leave you with that “Wow” face. Hehe. This helps with the film’s pacing which is nearly perfect. Vincenzo Natali made sure that if you are not being sucked in by the atmosphere and tension of the “cube” then you are being sucked in by the philosophical and moral undertones this film displays so perfectly. I have always been a fan of social-commentary in film as long as it makes sense in theory and is relatable in our society. This flick nails that aspect and leaves you feeling that it is so much more than “just a horror flick”.
There is nothing I really do not like about this film. The film’s budget seems a bit low but that only makes me love the film even more given that it’s not an A-List Hollywood production and still manages to outdo many of those types of films. The acting can be a little overdone at times and so can the dialogue between the characters but in such a highly stressful situation…who knows how people will act and talk.
Overall, this is an amazing film that I highly recommend to everyone on the face of the earth! Even non-horror fans should check this film out simply for how smart it is and the message it sends.