Cube (1997)

What time is it? Looks like it’s time for a mini-event! I want to cover some trilogies (and a tetralogy or two) so expect bonus posts on Thursdays for a few weeks. And we’re starting with a series near and dear to my heart: Cube! And my “near and dear to my heart,” I mean that I saw the first one something like 20 years ago, vaguely remembered the ending, and never saw the other two. Look, I got a notification that Tubi was removing all three films by the end of July, so that lit a fire under my ass, and here we are.

Cube is about a collection of strangers thrust into what is effectively an evil Rubik’s Cube where half the rooms are filled with deadly traps. Our collection of one-note characters include a cop, a student, a doctor, an office worker, a prison escape artist, and a guy who appears to be severely autistic. There’s also briefly Julian Richings (AKA Death from Supernatural), but he dies 3 minutes in. Anyway, after the escapee dies, the cop rallies everyone to find a way out of this deadly maze. The student realizes that numbers in each room are important, but a near death experience proves that just identifying which rooms have prime numbers doesn’t mean anything. Tensions rise as the cop starts getting angrier, leading to confrontations; he even lets the doctor fall to her death–telling everyone she slipped–because he took her wild accusation that he hit his children as proof that she knew too much about his life. Yup, this movie dives headfirst into ACAB pretty hard, with him nearly killing the office worker because he helped build the Cube (well, the outer frame, but still). Oh, and he’s uncomfortably touchy-feely with the student in a way just shy of including a “sexual assault” tag. But it turns out the autistic guy is a master number cruncher, and with his help the group figures out a potential escape. By this point the cop has gone full crazy and ends up killing the student, mortally wounding the office worker, and dies in the process. The only person to escape the Cube and walk into the light is the autistic guy, although we don’t see whether that’s freedom or not. Hope one of the following movies doesn’t ruin this moment!

I can’t help but watch this and think, “I don’t know if this directly inspired Saw, but I definitely see seeds that could lead to it years later.” We get bits and pieces of who everyone was before they got mysteriously abducted and placed in the Cube (except for the autistic guy, as he’s barely verbal), but the meat of the movie is who they become when facing deadly traps. The escape artist is cool under pressure, having escaped from several prisons, but that leads to him getting his face literally melted off. Most everyone else gets stressed and snaps at one another, but the cop going full fascist is a pretty creepy transformation. After all, we can’t have a movie JUST about people trapped in deadly puzzles; there have to either be a mastermind behind it all (John “Jigsaw” Kramer), one of the people in the thick of it secretly evil the whole time (Amanda from Saw II), or someone goes crazy and becomes the villain, like here.

Regardless, I found this to be a fun and tense movie, even if I haven’t had a math class in so long that everything explaining how to identify safe rooms past “prime numbers” was gibberish to me. I’m sure if I rewatched it and paused to brush up I could follow it, but that’s not important to the story. Or really important enough to mention, but here we are anyway!

Next: Cube²: Hypercube

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3 thoughts on “Cube (1997)

  1. Pingback: Cube²: Hypercube (2002) – Chwineka Watches

  2. Pingback: Cube Zero (2004) – Chwineka Watches

  3. Pingback: We Gotta Talk about Bryan Singer – Chwineka Watches

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