CUBE (1997) Reviews and overview

 

‘Don’t look for a reason… look for a way out’

Cube is a 1997 science fiction horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali (In the Tall Grass; Tremors 2018; Haunter; Splice) from a screenplay co-written with André Bijelic and Graeme Manson. The movie stars Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller and Julian Richings.

Two sequels, Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) and Cube Zero (2004) followed and a remake is often rumoured to be in development.

Plot:

Unable to recall how they got there, several strangers awaken in a prison of cubic cells, some of them booby-trapped. There is one-time cop Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint), scientist Holloway (Nicky Guadagni), young mathematics genius Leaven (Nicole de Boer), master of escapes Rennes (Wayne Robson), autistic savant Kazan (Andrew Miller) and architect Worth (David Hewlett), who might have more information on the maze than he lets on. The prisoners must use their combined skills if they are to escape…

Reviews:

“This is a brilliant, claustrophobic horror which shows just what you can achieve with a low budget, a simple set and a great script. The direction is inventive and the philosophical musings on human nature and life’s struggle give the film an extra edge.” Eat Horror

Cube is a modest film and necessarily limited, but it will certainly give you pause for thought. Well worth checking out.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“Unsettling and disturbing, this puzzle box of a movie, cowritten and directed by Vincenzo Natali, doesn’t give us easy outs, neat resolutions, or even terribly likable characters. We root for them only because of the direness of their situation. Theirs is so awful a plight that you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.” Maryann Johanson, Flick Filosopher

“Natali’s direction is assured and the pacing is good, it never wastes so much as a second of its lean 90 minutes and at no time do I recall it ever feeling baggy or slow, for even when there’s not much physical action happening the emphasis is on the characters and the ever-unravelling mystery of the Cube.” Gorepress

“From its creepy and horrific opening to its climatic close Cube is a science fiction horror film that delivers, both from beginning to end. It also reveals a lot about humanity and the loss of it in certain situations. And it’s with this highly original idea and starkly scary set up it’s a must see for sci-horror fans.” Love Horror

“The weakness in “Cube” is the dialogue, which sometimes turns remarkably trite. Quentin’s tirade at Holloway, in which he characterizes her as “dried up,” doesn’t have an original thought in it. And Worth actually says at one point, “I have nothing to live for out there.” The strength is the film’s understated but real tension.” Anita Gates, The New York Times

“The film succeeds brilliantly, relying on the mystery of the cube’s design and purpose to draw viewers into a surreal thriller.” Pop Matters

” …my favorite scene in the film (not counting the awesome slice-and-dice opening) is when the characters decide that in order to continue their journey through the cube maze, they must cross a sound-based trap room. They silently make their way through the room one by one, and the tension is molasses-thick. If only there were more moments when they wrote in excuses for the characters not to yell at each other.” Silver Emulsion Film Reviews

“The plot is well-paced, with revelations popping up with brisk regularity and keeping things ticking along nicely, and it’s just refreshing to have a sci-fi film that doesn’t try to dumb itself down a little to appeal to a wider audience […] Its only slight downside is the dialogue, which is a little clichéd at times.” That Was a Bit Mental

“The stuff involving the characters bickering with each other and/or performing long-winded math equations is a Hell of a lot less interesting than the scenes where they get grated like cheese.  Most of the performers gave me a splitting headache but David (Pin:  A Plastic Nightmare) Hewlett did a solid job as the snarky architect who helped build the cube.” The Video Vacuum

Production:

Only one cube, measuring 14 by 14 by 14 feet, was actually built, with only one working door that could actually support the weight of the actors. The colour of the room was changed by sliding panels. However, as changing the panels proved to be too time-consuming, Cube was shot out of the storyline sequence.

Cast and characters:

Nicole de Boer … Leaven
Nicky Guadagni … Holloway
David Hewlett … Worth
Andrew Miller … Kazan
Julian Richings … Alderson
Wayne Robson … Rennes
Maurice Dean Wint … Quentin

Filming locations:

Wallace Avenue Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Technical credits:

90 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Ultra Stereo

Release:

Cube was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 1997. It was released in Ottawa and Montreal on 18 September 1997.