By Griffin J. Fields
Vincenzo Natali’s Cube, circa 1997, is a hectic but engaging science fiction horror film. It follows a cast of characters who awake in a maze-like series of cubes and must cooperate to navigate it’s nearly identical rooms and survive its deadly traps.
The concept is immediately both intriguing and problematic. It begs a number of questions, but its remarkable openness struggles to power your interest due to providing so few answers. If you do not enjoy movies that exchange closure for mystery, Cube is probably not for you. However, I would recommend it to those who value the investigation and debate that the uncertainty can spark. It is unquestionably a more gratifying experience with friends, as horror movies tend to be.
On that topic, “horror” may be a misnomer in this case. It is graphic, and both suspense and surprise play key roles in the film’s substance. However, it provides little in the way of horror, unless you’re frightened by outdated effects and unintentionally comical performances.
This keys into another of the motion picture’s advantages: Peculiarity. It’s an oddity, for sure, and that can make it worthy of viewing despite its flaws if one finds fun in the simple act of watching something weird. Additionally, the absurdity of it develops chronologically, as though comedic timing were factored into the original intent of the movie.
Furthermore, it was successful in some measure, as it has received several sequels and arguably inspired developments in the horror genre beyond what you may know of. For example, Saw shares a few characteristics with the 1997 flick. They both focus on graphic brutality and imply sadism as the cause of the events on-screen, while also utilizing simplistic, or traditionalist, filming technologies and techniques.
All in all, I found Cube to be a great experience with friends, and recommend it to any viewer who enjoys cheesy horror movies, especially classics. It is also worth a watch if you revel in the perplexing world of science fiction, and the bizarre plotlines that often accompany such settings.