Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Written by: André Bijelic, Graeme Manson, Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Andrew Miller, David Hewlett, Julian Richings, Maurice Dean Wint, Nicky Guadagni, Nicole de Boer, Wayne Robson
15th Anniversary Edition
A group of strangers find themselves trapped within a cube; a maze-like surreal structure of identical rooms with door hatches on each sides of the wall, floor and ceiling. With some of the rooms booby-trapped, the group must work together if they are to survive but that’s easier said than done when paranoia begins to set in…
CUBE has one of the most amazing first five minutes I’ve ever witnessed. A brutal, jaw dropping execution will grab you by the throat and drag you into the terrifying world of the cube. From hereon in we discover the disorientated strangers trapped inside the cube. Knowing that gruesome killer traps lie just behind a hatch door, this nail-biting sci-fi horror-thriller keeps you captivated and on the edge of your seat as you pray that the survivors have chosen a safe room.
Never knowing for sure which cells are safe makes it as much a guessing game for the viewer as it does the characters themselves. As each character reveals their occupation, it soon becomes apparent that each have a particular talent that can help someone else trapped in the cube. Leaven, a young student, discovers a pattern enabling to decode safe and fatal cells but just when you think that the solution to the claustrophobic, kafkaesque maze has been solved, the film pulls the rug from underneath you yet again.
Director Vincenzo Natali has created a magnificent, highly original film that, although is filmed in such a small space, creates a complex intelligent scenario that does not need to feed the viewer answers for them to be entertained by what’s happening on screen. The almost-identical haunting cells, that only differ in colour and whether they are boobytrapped or not, increase the stress amongst the group, reaching heights of fear and paranoia as they must soldier on without food or water if they are to escape.
The cast of CUBE are marvellous in what must have been a gruelling shoot sitting in 14ft square rooms day-in, day-out. Granted, there are a couple of overreactions by cop Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint) and doctor Helen Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), but for the majority of the film, the cast depict the tired, frustrating emotions that the characters must struggle with.
Labelled as the original SAW-style movie, CUBE is filled with some spectacular grisly deaths. In my opinion CUBE is infinitely better than the SAW series with its greater freedom of choice for the victims. From the start of the film, we care for the characters and their well-being, sympathising with the life-or-death situation they are in. When the deaths or implied possibility of being killed happen, they are both gut-wrenching and exciting to watch.
CUBE is a tense, gritty sci-fi thriller that needs to be seen by every film fan out there. I’m ashamed to have not found this gem of a movie earlier, but now that I have, I’d rank it among one of the best thrillers ever to have been released. Frightening and engaging, CUBE ticks all the boxes and leaves you haunted by the lasting memory of the madness onscreen.
CUBE is released on Blu-Ray for the first time in the UK, courtesy of LIONSGATE, and is presented in 5.1 audio with excellent visual transfer. The Blu-ray edition has two special features including a brief interview with cast member Nicole de Boer.
For those who want more of what CUBE has to offer, the film spawned two sequels, CUBE 2 – HYPERCUBE and CUBE ZERO.