Cube (1997)

Fear. Paranoia. Suspicion. Desperation.

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Cast: Nicole de Boer, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Maurice Dean Wint, Nicky Guadagni, Wayne Robson.

Plot: 6 total strangers of widely varying personalities wake up in an endless maze containing deadly traps.

Cube is genuinely one of the most intriguing movies I’ve had the pleasure of watching, however, it could of easily been a feature length distsater, down to its one location and minimal casting, it could have been very easy to lose interest in what was happening if not executed correctly.

The actors who were on board didn’t have massive reputations, so there were never going to be any Oscar worthy performances, but they managed to pull it off, what the movie lacks in acting, it makes up for with originality.

The idea behind the movie was a solid one, no faults at all, group of strangers wake up in an unfamiliar place with no recollection of how they got there. We have seen this technique perfected over recent years in the form of the noughties powerhouse franchise “Saw” but I like to think that Cube kick started the vibe off.

Sliced and diced

Cube uses quite inventive, futuristic looking traps, rather than something like Saw where it is a man made trap using materials with a sacrificial method behind it. The idea with Cube is that you don’t actually have to sacrifice anything in order to survive, the traps used are based off a mathematical theory, this then determines whether the room is safe or not. This gives the cube a living, breathing prison kind of feeling.

I feel like the music could of been slightly better in certain scenes just to amp up the tension between the characters, this would of contributed massively to the overall feel and vibe of the movie, but it still worked with what was used so this isn’t a massive thing that viewers will pick up on.

In a nutshell, I have arrived at the conclusion that Cube is a twisted view on the egos of certain individuals, and how far we would push ourselves and each other in order to survive when given a glimmer of hope. On a side note I would also say that it touches upon the way we treat certain people, who may seem useless to us and society but they actually may hold the key to survival, so accept each other no matter what walk of life you are from.

Deep revelations there from a movie that seems like such a depraved idea. With all things considered, I would definitely recommend giving Cube a go, it is a highly entertaining, low budget sci-fi /mystery. I believe the budget was 350,000 CAD approx.

7 out of 10 boots from myself.

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Lights Out (2016)

Director: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out short film)

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Russel, Andi Osho, Alicia Vela-Bailey. 

Plot: Rebecca (Palmer) must unravel the mystery behind her younger brother’s terrifying experiences that once tested her sanity, ultimately bringing her face to face with a chilling entity that has latched onto their mother.

So David F. Sandberg is the director behind the short film that took the internet by storm, Lights Out was a 2013 short movie (available to view on YouTube), what made it so popular was its simple setting, it made our own paranoia a nightmarish reality. We’ve all been in the situation, it’s late, we’re tired, we flick the light switch off and we have that thought “Did I just see something?” burrowing into our mind, we get in bed and try to shrug it off “It was my imagination” we reassure ourselves. But what if we did actually see something? 

So fast forward three years and we were blessed with a feature length movie! This time we see the entity terrorising a mother and her children. It’s fascinating to see the backstory of Diana (Vela-Bailey), she was merely a child with some medical complications, we see her brought to life and she really is the stuff nightmares are made of, she looks like she stands about 7 foot tall, with elongated fingers and crooked limbs.

So this is Sanbergs first major project, aside from a number of short films, and I really believe he took a few pointers from producer James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring). With a well thought out storyline sprinkled with jump scares and some excellent shots, Lights Out is certainly a horror movie for the ages. Maria Bello who plays the mother, Sophie, really is a character to watch, she acts as an enabler for Diana, because she can’t let her go, she allows Diana to exist and wreak havoc.

Overall I think Sandberg did an impressive job to extend the storyline and really turn up the creep factor, it had me scared in every sense of the word, the last 35 minutes of the film are just a constant grip of nightmares like tension. Let’s just hope Sandberg can keep this performance up with the upcoming Annabelle: Creation, which is set to release on August 11th (2017). From me Lights Out receives a whopping 7 broken lightbulbs out of 10. That’s all from me guys, stay scary, and remember to stay in the light.