Cube (1998)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by Andre Bijelic, Graeme Manson & Vincenzo Natali
Starring Maurice Dean Wint, Nicole deBoer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Wayne Robson

My Advice: Wait and Rent It.

A number of people wake up in a very strange place--a structure of some kind in which they find interconnected cubical rooms, some of which are booby-trapped with some lethal surprises.  If they can just work together, they might be able to figure out what they've gotten themselves into and escape.  But you know how us pesky humans are--

A very interesting take on the "can't we all just get along and save our own asses" genre of films, which reached its pinnacle methinks with George Romero's Dead trilogy, Cube has its share of surprises but falls back on cliche a few too many times.  We have all of the characters in place, all with their own special skills, and they're all played with precision by the cast.  Of note are Wayne Robson's mysterious Rennes and David Hewlett's wise-ass Worth.  The archetypes that they play (conspiracy nut, brainy girl, etc. etc. blah blah) get a little stretched toward the end, and therein lies the major problem.  Instead of letting the situation play itself out, or hell, not letting the situation play itself out--we like unresolved stuff if done right--the resolution seems forced, as if it's driving its point home like Frank with his wild years.

Other than that detraction at the end, there's plenty to commend.  The set is simple but impressive in that it still gives the actors plenty to work from.  The traps are very good at making you cry out "Holy shite!" whenever they go off and they do go off when least expected.  Claustrophobic and taut right up until the aforementioned pseudo-limp ending, it makes a great rental for edge of your seat madness.  Plop on the couch and enjoy.

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