Cube (1997)

Imagine trying to solve the puzzle of an escape room. Now imagine that you have to solve this puzzle with a group of strangers. Finally, that room is actively trying to kill you!

We meet five strangers trapped in a box-shaped room. Unaware of how they came to be imprisoned a character introduces himself as Quentin, played by Maurice Dean Wint (Rude, The Best Girl) who reveals that some of the rooms contain traps. Whilst processing the unnerving information, Rennes, played by Wayne Robson (Duct Tape Forever) suspects that these traps are triggered by motion sensors, giving him a mistaken sense of security as he causes a trap to activate and causing his death as he is doused in highly corrosive acid.

The group is visibly shaken by this and they must figure out how to escape, knowing that each room could be trapped and they have no way of knowing how it is triggered; apart from the obvious sudden and horrific death. As the group tries to work out what is happening to them and how they might be able to escape the deadly prison, Quentin suggests that they must be there for a reason and that they may be able to use their combined abilities to escape.

Each member of the group introduces themselves and they soon discover that each person has a unique skill that may assist in them defeating the lethal puzzle holding them captive. A mathematical genius, an escape specialist and a doctor, however, one member of the group claims to be a simple office worker. Using their new-found cohesion the members of the group theorize what the numbers on the walls of the room could mean. This brings the captives hope as they now believe they have solved the puzzle and can safely escape.

The plan fails, causing the near-death of Quentin, this leads to emotions rising further and rifts begin to appear amongst the members. The mental effects of being under constant fear begin to take their toll on the group as tensions mount and members of the group turn on each other, adding to the already dangerous situation they find themselves in.

Can the group resolve their differences and solve the mystery of the cube; or is there any mystery at all to solve?

Cube is an effective horror that works so well because of its simplicity. The direction of Vincenzo Natali (Slither, Splice) provides a modern and industrial environment where tension builds. Well known for his work in creating dark and disturbing stories, the concept of Cube is beautifully brought to life in this plain setting which gives the world of the film an all too realistic environment. Each room brings new and terrifying dangers as it is entered. Unseen dangers await in each space and the chest-crushing fear is expressed by the cast making this a gripping story from start to finish. The suspense mounts and viewers will feel the emotions of the cast members waiting for the next trap to be triggered. Often waiting with breath held in panic.