Several strangers wake up in an enormous labyrinth made
up of individual cubes, some of which contain deadly traps.
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali, Graeme Manson
Starring Nicole de Boer, David Hewlett, Maurice Dean Wint,
Andrew Miller, Nicky Guadagni, Wayne Robson
Cube represents the best that indie horror has to offer, and how it can influence the genre for the better. Cube takes a simple but strong premise and manages to create an overwhelming sense of isolation and paranoia while also balancing drama, action, and good old-fashioned horror. This film opens with one of the most brutal deaths in horror history and from there, the situation only becomes more dire. I was won over almost from the start by the interesting characters and unique concept.
When six strangers wake up in a giant cube, they have to figure out how to escape the enormous labyrinth of cubes that they are now trapped in. Regrettably, you never find out why they were chosen or whose controlling the game, but while that would ruin most films for me, it actually plays to the film's strengths here. I feel like more information would've tarnished the film's ambiguous ending. We know just as much as the characters do, which is nothing. It makes us feel like characters ourselves as we follow them from one room to the next. Speaking of rooms, I must praise the scene featuring the "sound-activated room," in which the characters must pass through without making a sound or spikes will shoot out of the walls. This scene was nail-bitingly tense and performed impeccably.
Hints are dropped throughout regarding the true motives of the people behind the curtain. Somebody says rich psycho, somebody else says government experiment. In the end, all that mattered was the game itself and figuring out how to escape. It was creepy watching the characters' sanity slowly unravel after traversing the cubes for days at a time without food, water, or even a way to tell time. The characters at the beginning were not the ones at the end, and the change was crucial to the painful finale. I liked Cube way more than I expected to. It's a predecessor to horror classics like Saw, and it was made for next to nothing by film students. It's the American dream at work.