Cube (1997) is a Canadian sci-fi/horror/mystery film.
Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cypher (2002), Getting Gilliam (2005)).
Written by Vincenzo Natali (Nothing (2003), Splice (2009)), Andre Bijelic and Graeme Manson (Lucky Girl (2001), Orphan Black (2013 TV)).
Starring: Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson.
We open to a guy going through the cube rooms like he owns the place, until he’s suddenly slashed into pieces by a trap.
Then we switch to a whole group of people, who seem to have been there for a short while, but they already know that they’re in deep shit. They’re stuck in this structure, consisting of a lot of large cubes. Some of these cubes contain traps, so they have to figure out how to get out, without getting killed.
At the start of the movie you know nothing about these cubes, so you learn with the characters, who are also clueless about what is happening. The cinematography also adds to this feeling. At first there’s a lot of handheld, kinetic shots, that make you feel just as disoriented as the characters, but later on the shots become more steady.
The special effects are pretty good for a low-budget movie, sliced up guy, face melted by acid, that type of stuff. But the most impressive special effect is selling the structure they’re in. It is almost mind-boggling that they only had one actual fully constructed cube. But with minimalistic, but smart adjustments it achieves the needed effect with flying colors. However, there is some bad 90’s CGI, but it is used sparsely enough to be forgiven.
The mystery begins as slightly confusing or frustrating, but very soon settles as very intriguing. And the movie doesn’t ruin it, by providing answers that were not needed.
The dialogue at times is pretty bad, there’s no denying that. It’s horribly overwritten and since it’s low-budget, the inexperienced actors just can’t handle such wordy lines. But at least the characters themselves are multi-dimensional enough as they’re written, relieving the actors from struggling to add what isn’t there.
Definitely, one of the best sci-fi films of the 90’s, proving Vincenzo Natali as one of the most adept genre directors out there. Splice, his latest, slightly inferior sci-fi horror movie being a proof of that.
Overall, it seems like a long Twilight Zone episode, which is a compliment, verging from light horror to mystery to high concept sci-fi. Recommended.