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Cube 2: Hypercube

Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 01/11/05 14:13:07

"A sleek continuation of an unexpectedly good franchise."
3 stars (Just Average)

For all its problems, “Cube” was a darn cool B horror flick. The premise was simple: a handful of strangers wake up in a mysterious “place” (for lack of a better word) that’s made up of seemingly infinite interconnected cube-shaped rooms. How did they get there, and how do they get out? And how do they survive with no food, no water, and all those various death traps they meet along the way? The result was a tight, “Twilight Zone”-ish sci-fi thriller whose low-budget roots worked to its advantage, seeing as how with all the rooms being identitcal, the filmmakers could save money on sets.

The film became a cult hit on video, resulting in “Cube 2: Hypercube,” a sequel that manages to recycle ideas from the original while still managing to feel fresh. As with the first “Cube,” this sequel has some trouble with an uneven cast and shaky CGI effects, but it still manages to thrill merely by being a movie with a great idea at its core.

For the sequel, we get another handful of strangers, and this time they find themselves in a slightly more elaborately designed cube. There’s been one significant upgrade: the rooms now work in four dimensions (hence “hypercube”), and the room that was on your right might not be there the next time you open the door - even if it’s only shut for a split second. So, then, how do you escape a maze that’s contantly changing?

Another change from the original, which I liked but some gore fans may not, is the absence of the death traps. With the exception of one barely-believable CGI killing machine, the only deaths come either from the turbulence caused by “dimensional shifts” (don’t ask - it’s explained well enough in the film) or by conflicts among the humans themselves.

Yup, as with the first movie, most of the conflict in “Cube 2” comes from the increasingly paranoid behavior of the trapped humans. And while the acting isn’t quite top-shelf, the cast is still serviceable enough to carry the increasing claustrophobia and confusion that sets in, and they’re all quite likable in their own B movie way. (I especially liked Neil Crone as nice guy Jerry, a character who lends a down to Earth sensibility to the wacky proceedings.)

“Cube 2” comes from director Andrzej Sekula, a filmmaker whose past career as a cinematographer (he lensed “Pulp Fiction” and “American Psycho,” and he photographed this film, too) provides him with a natural sense for style that he puts to good use here; if nothing else, this film is a treat for the eye, with sharp set design and nifty camerawork.

But “Cube 2” is more than interesting visuals. It’s a thoroughly engaging sci-fi horror flick, one with enough intriguing twists and turns to make up for its low budget problems. Fans of the original will be pleasantly pleased, as will any fans of intelligent sci-fi.

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