The Cube By J.D. Hawke
“The Cube” (1997)
Film review by J.D. Hawke
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Strangers awaken in a mysterious room, perfectly square with hatch-style doors on every wall, ceiling, and floor. They soon discover they are in a giant maze of such rooms, forming a cube, and they must use the skills they each possess to defeat the deadly traps in the rooms and survive to make it outside.
There’s nothing quite like late 90’s horror/thriller movies. Maybe it’s because those were my teenage years, where my horror education really got into full swing. Maybe it’s just that the 90’s continued the trend of B horror movies that the 80’s championed.
That being said, “The Cube” tried something a little different when it came to horror: a mix of psychological thriller and gore. Well, a light amount of gore. Okay, there were two or three “gory” deaths. Okay, well…
Look, the Cube isn’t half bad. The idea that you might one day wake up in a strange room – one that may or may not try to kill you – and have to rely on strange people – that may or may not try to kill you – can be terrifying in its own right. No food, no water, and dwindling hope cause people to get desperate, so desperate they’re willing to kill to stay alive. That’s what the Cube promises its viewers.
The movie does an okay job of delivering on the promise of scare factor. The traps are inventive and original (this movie came out before Saw, remember), and the acting isn’t half bad. There are a few twists in the sub-plot (the characters getting desperate) that make it both fun and intense to watch. You find yourself rooting for one character one minute, then another the next when the situation changes and the rules of the Cube become clear.
I wasn’t fan of the lack of actual gore in the movie, and between you and me, that’s saying something. Normally I like atmospheric horror, something that dives into the fear factor and leaves me afraid to switch the lights off. But with The Cube, I was hoping for more innovation in the death scenes. The ones that are there have great special effects, but they’re telegraphed and easy to predict. The best one happens early on in the movie, which I was hoping would set the tone for the rest of the film, but alas, I was left wanting more.
The paranoia factor is excellent, however. By the end of the movie, my heart was racing a bit. The climax of the movie left me hanging, though, too, and I was a bit disappointed with the end, as you can kind of see it coming.
Overall, it’s a decently made low-budget horror film. It was popular enough to spawn sequels, but honestly, I think one viewing is enough.
Darklady’s Horror Movie Review Ranking: 6 skulls.
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