Movie #183 2020: Cube (1997)

You know the sadistic joy you get from watching movies like Saw and Scream? That’s exactly what this movie is.

With very little context, Cube begins with a group of strangers who wake up and find themselves trapped in a room with no way out. It doesn’t take long for them to realise that there are other rooms through the sliding doors that litter the walls of each box, and some of those rooms are booby trapped to make sure that not everyone survives. It’s gruesome, and it’s brilliant.

There are some pretentious and poncy film nerds who will have a lot of negatives attached to this movie, but you know what? I appreciated this movie for what it was. It clearly inspired a lot of the Saw franchise, and the fact that its budget was so low makes it all the more impressive. (It was made on a measly $350,000, which is amazing for any movie, never mind one that is actually decent).

I won’t lie to you, some of the acting was undoubtedly atrocious, but I didn’t care all that much. There’s not really a main character, as all of them carry equal weight, and there’s a minuscule seven actors listed in the credits, but that made it all the more exciting, and weirdly, it didn’t really matter because each of them carried their share of the spotlight. The characters were interesting even if they weren’t executed overly well (no pun intended), which was a real positive. Imagine if there were only 7 characters and they were all boring… Sheesh.

Although the majority of the film is quite gripping, there’s one sequence that took the top spot. In one room, our friends discover that if they make even the slightest noise, hundreds of blade would slice their way through the walls and cut them up into tiny little pieces. It’s tension on monkey bars, and definitely the best bit of the lot. 

Again, this movie is not without its negatives. The music was really annoying at points (there’s a weird whispering woman’s voice in the soundtrack that was really grating), but for the most part it only added more suspense. 

What I do have an issue with is the conclusion. There’s nothing more annoying than when these types of movies just don’t answer the “who?” or “why?” questions, and that’s probably why Saw was generally more successful, both in the box office and in public memory. But it was still engrossing enough for me to enjoy it, despite a sudden and lacklustre ending.

Overall, I’d still choose the first Saw movie over this, but it’s definitely not a bad movie. It’s not even a bad movie in the confines of its own genre – Circle is definitely worse.

Cube is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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