Cube: The Trilogy (1997-2004)

The first time I was exposed to “Cube” was when I was a small lad. I was over at my grandparent’s house staying the night. As my brother and I tried our best to sleep on the floor our guardians were watching Cube. While at the time I found the movie to be needlessly bloody and confusing my most recent watching proved my previous thoughts quite out of date.

To be sure “Cube” is a different kind of film. It is more of a thought experiment to be honest. It is what one would get if they combined the horror of monster movies with the frustration of puzzle games. Revolving around a group of misfit strangers this off-beat gathering has woken up inside a giant puzzle which holds a deadly assortment of traps.

Each individual has a talent to offer to the group. To offer their said skill, however, they must survive long enough to figure out in what manner the cube kills, how each chamber’s serial number intersects with the overall configuration, and of course how the personalities of each person can be used to their advantage. Assuming the pressure and conflicting personalities doesn’t turn “stranger against stranger” sounds easy, right?

No, not really, you would be right in making such an assumption. The seemingly simple job of escaping has the complexity of an “erubrix” cube on steroids. So needless to say the plot deals heavily with not only abstract problem solving (numbers in relation to the cube) but interpersonal problems as well (group dynamics and conflicting personalities). This makes for some fantastic reveals and character development; trust me: a doctor, cop, mathematician, mentally handicapped, a con man, and a drifter don’t know each other until they know each other. The turns and tension reaches a crescendo in this movie which I, with my twisted sense of appreciation, can take delight in.

That being said the film isn’t abhorrently bloody. Meaning it doesn’t make a fetish out of decapitations and butchery. While there are graphic scenes of slaughter the film’s directors only used as much as minimally possible. In truth there is very little gore outside of a few choice happenings. So while this fact doesn’t make it a children’s movie by any degree it does mean that it is mature in more than a simple manner.

The sequel-Hypercube- keeps much of the same tense atmosphere, including a deranged psychopath yet loses some of the originality (as any great sequel does). The plot still is comprised of a group of people trying to find their way out of an intricate cube yet in the second the puzzle has taken on a fourth dimension which adds the fun of another alternate universe onto the already formidable task. From this added twist there are some interesting turn of events; though such developments aren’t my forte, per se, they do add an intriguing flare to the cannon.

The third film does much of the same as the second only as an added bonus it invites the viewer to take a look “behind the curtain” and see some of the backstory of the cubical killing machine. Though the story of technicians grappling with the inanity of their jobs is in a manner gripping it falls into what I like to call the “Grandiose Trap” where a formally simple concept-a group of people surviving deadly puzzles-is blown up to this conspiratorial plan masterminded by governments. That being said the third isn’t terrible, just different.

For what you are getting I immensely enjoyed the Cube movies. The atmosphere is intense, the pacing excellent, and the overall creation wonderful. Though it takes a little bit of mental strain to keep up with the surreal setting and those who desire some variety in their gore-fests will be left wanting, for those of us who venture for something grander and more thought-provoking look no further than Cube.

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