Six very different people find themselves trapped in an extremely peculiar "cube" having absolutely no idea how they got there. Upon further exploration, they discover that the number of "rooms" seem absolutely endless and that each is booby trapped in it's own way. They slowly begin to converge on one another and try desperately both to survive and piece the mystery together. As they progress (or not) through the labyrinth: their individual talents, and usefulness in successfully escaping, becomes more apparent. Of course, that makes it all sound a little too simple, which it clearly is not. Tension not only comes from the predicament our reluctant participants find themselves in, but also in their difficulty to communicate with one another and work effectively together. Suspense, gore, guts, and goo ensue: absolutely lovely.
Even though it comes with two inferior sequels attached to it, CUBES' brilliance really can't be tarnished. From its minimalist set dressings, to the raw performances, and sustained sense of curiosity and dread; there isn't much that Natali gets wrong here. One of the most impressive aspects of the film is just how effortlessly the narrative slides between thrillingly violent deaths and nail biting emotional tension. Having only his imagination and a minuscule budget, the director was forced to redress the same room over and over to represent each individual segment of said cube. Having only his imagination and a minuscule budget, the director found insanely creative and entertaining ways to kill the "cube dwellers." And having only his imagination and a minuscule budget, Vincenzo Natali crafted a timeless piece of sci-fi horror that still brings a twisted smile to my face 15 years after it's initial release.
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Nicole de Boer, Maurice Dean Wint, and David Hewlett