Cube (1997)
October 30, 2018 11:48 AM - Subscribe

Seven strangers are taken out of their daily lives and placed mysteriously in a deadly cube where they all agree they must find their way out.
posted by DirtyOldTown (19 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a gem of a movie and I'm flabbergasted we've never written it up here before.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:52 AM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


So good. In particular, I love how it lampshades and thereby justifies its own dumb premise:
Worth: This may be hard for you to understand, but there is no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It, it's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan. Can you grasp that? Big Brother is not watching you.
...
Quentin: Why put people in it?
Worth: Because it's here. You have to use it, or you admit it's pointless.
Quentin: But it, it *is* pointless.
Worth: Quentin... that's my point.
...
Worth: This is an accident, a forgotten, perpetual public works project. You think anybody wants to ask questions? All they want is a clear conscience and a fat paycheck.
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on October 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Neither of the other two Cube films was this good, but the prequel does provide a surprisingly affecting/shocking/surprising backstory for one of the characters in this film. I'll sit on that unless/until we eventually post a thread for that one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:13 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've owned Cube Zero since it first came out on DVD and never managed to see it, so I guess I have an excuse now.
posted by Etrigan at 12:18 PM on October 30, 2018


I rewatched this recently and was surprised that I didn't notice the Canadian-ness of it originally. I think it adds to the charm.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:32 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just rewatched Cube on rabb.it with some people my SO knows from a mental health Discord. I was struck by a couple things:

- It completely held up, every bit as good as I remembered. Honestly, maybe better. (It was a little weird seeing David Hewlett all young again after being an avid follower of the Stargate franchise though.)

- I was really dismayed by how much the young guys watching were unable to tell how toxic and useless Quentin was. All they could do was riff on 'be a MAY-ON,' and talk about how he should kill everybody else.

So. I still love Cube, and I wish they taught it in school, with the appropriate discussion of the underlying social metaphors. (I don't even think of it as a horror movie really, more a springboard to talk about why almost everybody dies. I guess it's like Romero-style zombie movies in that, at least for me.)
posted by mordax at 12:37 PM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


If you're wondering what happened to Cube's writer/director, Vincenzo Natali, it turns out he's been busy directing your favorite tv shows: Westworld, American Gods, Hannibal, Orphan Black...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:42 PM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


I loooove Cube. If you want to see an even more out there Natali film starting Hewlett, watch Nothing. It's bizarre and hilarious.
posted by rednikki at 1:27 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, gotta second Nothing. I still don't know what happened there. :)
posted by mordax at 1:34 PM on October 30, 2018


I was lucky enough to see this movie at it's UK premier at a Horror fest in the UK. I remember being shocked by the (arguably) bold ending.

I believe it was before most of the cast became Stargate/Star Trek/Supernatural allumni.

Some of the most fun bits of Trivia;
-All the characters are named after famous prisons: Leaven, Holloway, Worth, Kazan, Alderson, Rennes, and Quentin
- The Film was shot entirely in just 20 days
- The set consisted of only one 'Cube', (3 sections) they changed the look by resetting the light gels
posted by Faintdreams at 2:26 PM on October 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of kids have movies that they watched before they were developmentally ready to. Cube was mine! I was nine. The movie opens with a guy getting suddenly sliced into pieces.

Yeah, don't let nine year olds watch Cube.
posted by Merus at 6:54 PM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Its been a while but I remember enjoying it a lot more than I expected. The economy and quality of the set really stood out.
posted by porpoise at 8:03 PM on October 30, 2018


I only saw this movie recently. Maurice Dean Wint kept reminding me of Orson Welles somehow, just a real stagey aggressive villain. In a good way.

The set consisted of only one 'Cube', (3 sections) they changed the look by resetting the light gels

Wow! I would have guessed they had two full cubes, but yeah I guess if they are looking from one side of a cube into the far wall of the next cube, they can just turn one around. I wonder if they had each one on a truck or something.
posted by fleacircus at 4:04 AM on October 31, 2018


I watched this on a whim last month and was pleasantly surprised by it. I watched the 2 sequels, and agree they aren't nearly as good, but fun enough to watch once and laugh at.

Who knew you could pull off turning a bottle episode into a full movie, and it be entertaining.

I think I'm going to go watch it again.
posted by RhysPenbras at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I recently made a friend watch this on the grounds that it is a foundational cult horror/SF movie. It's definitely aged a bit; it's slower than I remember, and the actor playing Quentin definitely has the outlook that they paid him to Quentin and god damn it he's going to Quentin as hard as he can all the time. (And it is amazing, isn't it, how he's just a complete master class in toxic masculinity from start to finish?)

But for all the dull moments and janky effects and spotty acting, I still love the core horror premise for its truth; all the tortures of the world are ones we create, not because we should or even want to, but just because we can't think of anything better to do with our time.
posted by Scattercat at 5:09 PM on October 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


I watched it by accident about a decade ago, and it really surprised me by how well it worked. I should rewatch.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:58 AM on November 1, 2018


"But for all the dull moments and janky effects and spotty acting, I still love the core horror premise for its truth; all the tortures of the world are ones we create, not because we should or even want to, but just because we can't think of anything better to do with our time."

Saw this as a young one and just did the wikipedia-rewatch, but isn't this sort of undermined by the traps aspect of things?
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:44 PM on November 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


but isn't this sort of undermined by the traps aspect of things?

Nah. There's a couple of scenes that spell it out pretty heavy-handedly:

- Worth's explanation quoted by Etrigan above, wherein he explains that the machine must be used or the people behind it have to admit they did it for nothing. They're put in a deathtrap because otherwise someone has to explain why they built a deathtrap and didn't use it.

- The movie's eventual punchline, wherein they discover they were in the right room to *begin with*, and would've escaped clean if they had just stayed put until the door synced back up, making their entire struggle a pointless, self-defeating exercise... but they couldn't have handled that. (Possibly not even if they'd been told the truth from the outset, at least in Quentin's case.)

The traps don't undercut the message, they're very much a reinforcement of it.
posted by mordax at 10:46 PM on November 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


it's slower than I remember

At the time, it was just right - but I think there has been a definite movement towards jump cuts and overly fast-paced action in general, that "flavors" our perceptions of what is "slow".

Lately, I have not been enjoying many modern movies, because they cut so quickly that it is jarring. This past weekend, I started 22-Mile and basically could get past the first scene.

But - then again, I have been spoiled by too many excellent, long-form "TV shows" where things unfold at a slower-pace, typically with better dialog, beautiful cinematography, etc.... Yes, I am looking at you; True Detective, Fargo, Mindhunter, Westworld, Hannibal, American Gods, Ash vs Evil Dead, etc. Mmm mmm good viewing...

OTOH, I watched "Brainstorm" last night, and OMG it was soooooo slow...
posted by jkaczor at 7:56 AM on November 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


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