The Cube (1997)
I get asked all the time what my favorite horror film is and without any hesitations my first answer is always John Carpenter's Halloween. That being said, coming in at second place is the low budget Canadian spectical that is Cube. This film without doubt has its flaws but is one that I find myself regularly revisiting. It is the concept that draws me in and keeps me coming back time and time again. As big of a slasher fan as I am, in close second is certainly sci-fi horror. Set design is by far the most important aspect to me with films like this, if the set is wrong it breaks down everything else around it. This film has a very basic set, contained into a single room. Although it gives the impression that this is done through multiple cube rooms, it's actually filmed and contained to one singular location. Having the cube change colours and exploring multiple different filming angles helps provided the illusion that this is taking place in a much bigger setting. The acting does let this film down. Although everyone does a does a fair job, and I've certainly seen much worse for a low budget production of this standard, it's just not great across the board. The biggest culprit is Quentin played by Maurice Dean Wint. His performance is hammy and mellow-dramatic and he plays up to every character trope imaginable - to the point that last third of this film becomes borderline cartoonish. Andrew Miller on the other hand gives a flawless performance as Kazan an autistic savant. He alone is the saving grace of this film. As far as horrors go, the body count in this is rather minimal. Thankfully though, the kills we do see are all done practically and use some very inventive traps, at least by pre Saw films standard anyway. So this for me is by no means a negative, this film is more of a character study than anything else. The claustrophobic setting and psychological turmoil of the characters makes this a very interesting watch. Seeing each characters mental health slowly decline as time passes, with little to no sign of escape, is entertaining ans engaging without the need of extreme gore, violence or kills. I very rarely say this about a film but for me this is one that I think certainly would benefit from the remake treatment. As much as I love it and watch it at least 2 or 3 times a year, I think it is more the concept that appeals to me over the execution. I think in the hands of the right team, this is an idea that could go on to produce some great work. It's a strong recommendation from me but I say that knowing it could still be better.