This low-budget 1997 film connected with an audience and rated two bigger-budget sequels, neither of which equals the original. Its premise loosely resembles that of tv’s Lost, with a greater emphasis on death-traps.

Title: Cube

Available from Amazon.com

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Vincenzo Natali.

Writers: André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali.

Cast:

Nicole de Boer as Joan Leaven
Nicky Guadagri as Dr. Helen Holloway
Maurice Dean Wint as Quentin
Andrew Miller as Kazan
David Hewlett as David Worth
Wayne Robson as Rennes
Julian Richings as Alderson

Full Cast and Crew

Premise:

An odd group of people awake to find themselves in a mysterious maze filled with deadly traps.

High Point:

The high-concept premise that has been well-executed. The quest through this labyrinth creates genuine suspense (we really do not know who will die next, when, or how), provides a glimpse of people under extreme pressure, and becomes a problematic metaphor for life.

Low Point:

The acting can be intense, but it is also uneven. When sloppier moments combine with some unfortunate dialogue, it detracts from the film, which works best when you can connect with the plight of the people in the Cube.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6. The film has been compared to both The Twilight Zone, a videogame, and any number of SF stories where aliens/scientists/generic powerful entities put humans into an elaborate maze. Still, few films have used the premise so effectively.

Story: 4/6. The movie has a perfect premise for low-budget horrors, and keeps its audience in suspense. The dialogue can be contrived, and detracts from the character exploration at the heart of this film.

Effects: 6/6. Really good, given the film’s minimal budget.

Acting. 4/6.

Production: 5/6. The film’s production wins points for the brilliant, original design of the rooms (actually a single room, constantly altered during filming to create the effect of a larger building) and an inventive score.

Emotional Response: 5/6.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, Cube receives a score of 32/42.