Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Before Saw came through and people started using the terrible adjectives "Torture Porn" a Canadian science fiction film did the formula right. In 1997 a film directed by Vincenzo Natali, about a group of strangers that find themselves inside a cube, with no other information or recourse. The movie that I'll try to review for your reading, enjoyment, is called Cube.
Cube was released to mediocre fan fare because the budget wasn't exactly the size of Saw. The movie is an interesting piece of paranoia and horror. It relies heavily on abstract, rather than clear answers and had it been released in 2009, people would hate it and call it "torture porn".
Here is a trailer for the 1997 trailer film Cube:
The movie starts off with several strangers waking up in a box. This box has doors on each wall, the next room could be safe, or it could have a trap. The traps kill you instantly, and the opening sequences show us a crazy death with someone getting cut into several compact pieces, in a pre-cgi classic horror/gore kill. The movie progresses like all movies where strangers are found trapped, with the people involved wondering what's going on and trying to work together to move through to the outside world.
As the movie goes forward people start to find out more and more about themselves and how they got there. one guy even helped build the Cube which doesn't go over very well. Initially they figure out a number sequence to try and avoid traps, and things progress calmly.
The people start to argue and things go awry. Major plot points involve problems between the camp, and one guy is going nuts, while a woman is trying to go forward. There is even another problem with a mentally handicap person falling out of a door in a ceiling. This guy really helps make the movie a little more tense, with the group trying to progress and still help the disabled member.
The kills are not too gorey. While movies like Saw, P2, Vacancy, and Identity, involve death sequences that are not only full of blood are extremely focused. This movie doesn't create the sense that you're watching a snuff film or anything along those lines. The deaths are usually off camera, until the end of the film when all hell breaks loose.
If you hate math, you'll hate this movie. The movie works towards heavy math to figure out not only how to get out but where they are. Math is a central point to this movie, and in order to really understand what's going on a minor knowledge of prime factors, combination and numerology is needed. If you do not have any idea what the characters are talking about you will not enjoy this movie. There is also very little music, there is a lot of dead space, dead air, and silence, to push the tense suspense more and more to their advantage. You might find that boring.
Is Cube Scary? : Yes and No.
The movie really does a good job of showcasing despair. It really pushes the weightlessness of ideas if you're not good with numbers. It is painfully obvious that these people would die immediately if they did not figure out the whole geometry to the trapped rooms and the clean rooms. I, for example, would die immediately because I wouldn't know what is going on. Even in my post graduate status now, am confused as to how the prime factors of a cube would create a way out in a cube world! It's like a bad case of Tetris to me.
The movie is kind of like reading a Kafka novel. I enjoy it, but it doesn't make sense sometimes and the over powering message seems to be lost in the end of the film. The film really doesn't strive to be much more than a suspense filled thriller of a film.
It's not scary at times because the music, the dead space and interval shots of the interior cube rotating. Much like my critique of The Dark Knight film showing too much aerial views of the outside of buildings, this film has a lot of shots that are just useless somehow.
I would recommend Cube to see where Saw came from, not that it had anything to do with Saw but it's a similar plot structure. I liked Cube the first time I saw it, but this time around it's not that great. It's a little slow, but it has a few moments that are slow, to the point where you want something to happen, and keep waiting.
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