Cube (1997)

The Halloween Countdown (Day 27)


Cube is available to rent or buy now.

I will always love escape room horrors, and this is probably due to Cube. The concept is simple – a group of seemingly unrelated individuals wake up in a room and quickly discover they’re inside a kind of perverse maze. The ludic shades of the procedurally-generated deadly prison keep you hooked, your mind whurring as you wonder what the next trap will be and how it will be activated or escaped. Maybe that’s why, whenever I’m at a party and someone asks what film we should put on, I always say Cube. 

There’s something for every horror fan here – mystery, gore, deception and intrigue. All mixed up into an extensive, geometrical cocktail. Cube is an intriguing predecessor to Saw, both sharing some similar narrative and thematic beats. But where Saw surrenders a morsel of information about its games and reasoning, Cube is entirely silent. There’s little rhyme or reason as to why what’s happening is happening; all you can do is create your own interpretation. You might be thinking, “Wow, this sounds like it could be a Twilight Zone episode!” And you’d be right – Five Characters in Search of an Exit was a clear inspiration for Cube, among others.  


The best way to describe the engaging dynamic of Cube is a deadly Christmas morning – every room is like a mysterious box, where one must take it upon themselves to unwrap it to see what’s inside. If you’re skilled, you can figure out what’s in your present before opening it. But if you don’t wait and survey the surroundings, you might find yourself with a nasty surprise.

A minor detail I love is that despite featuring over twenty rooms, the production design merely redressed a single set each time. It’s certainly one way to keep production costs down, but it also forced the production to be creative. Here, an assortment of angles tricks you into thinking the maze is vast. That’s part of the reason why it’s so engaging – you’re only ever given as much information as those trapped inside, so in a way, you’re just another person in the deadly Cube, only they don’t know you’re there. It’s a bit mind-bending, with some pulpy characters and some very efficient production design – what’s not to enjoy?


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