Cube screens at the Toronto Underground Cinema on Saturday December 4th at 9:00pm as part of our Good Canadian Cinema? series. A Q&A will follow with co-writer Andre Bijelic.
If you found yourself trapped in a room or a torture device of some sort, would you be more concerned about how you got there and what exactly it is, or would you focus more on trying to get out in one piece? In Cube, the film that far and away got the greatest number of votes when we conducted our Good Canadian Cinema? poll asking what our patrons wanted to see, the characters don't question the origin of the cube they find themselves in. No one knows why they are there or how they got there. They understand the mechanics and rules behind the cube only through observation. All these captives know is what they do for a living and who they are. Given those circumstances, the what doesn't really matter. To get out you need to know the answer to every other question.
Director Vincenzo Natali and his writing team have crafted one of the best low budget chillers of the past twenty years with this tale of several people who quite literally find themselves trapped inside of a cube that is slowly killing them off one by one and doesn't play with any sort of rules regarding human life or fairness. The rooms are constantly changing and staying one step ahead of everything going on is nearly impossible. Think Saw with a more of a brain and even less control over who lives and who dies.
Cube boasts some of the most imaginative set design for a low budget film I have ever seen. The staging is perfect because you are never really able to tell just how cheap the film was to make (slightly over $300,000). It is also relentlessly intense and adheres to my favourite horror movie convention: anyone can die at any time. But probably the biggest part of Cube's appeal is just how existential it all feels. It is the rare case of a horror film where the audience and the characters are equally detached from their surroundings. When everyone is in the dark, both mentally and in the confines of a movie theatre, the terror in some cases equals out.