What a cool flick this was! I'd passed on this one for seemingly ages, and after finally seeing Cube, I must say I'm damned impressed. Shot for a comparatively miniscule budget, Vincenzo Natali's sci-fi/horror hybrid has earned itself a cult following big enough to justify not only a sequel, but also a potential television series, and to celebrate this feat, Lion's Gate has reissued the film as a part of their special Signature Series.
A group of strangers find themselves trapped inside of a series of monochromatically lit square cells, each with six possible exits. None of them know how, or why, they are here, but they do know they've got to get out. However, out of the six possible exits from each room, only one is not booby trapped (razor wire, sound activated acid sprays, etc), so the group look for patterns to lead themselves to safety, and slowly begin to see how their lives outside the cube impact their survival within.
Cube is a truly fantastic film, with such a unique and complex premise that it's no surprise the film has spawned future projects. The whole concept of the mysterious cube maze/prison is never fully explained, which lends a sense of otherworldly mystery to the proceedings that bleeds over into the somewhat mysterious characters themselves. We learn just enough about each to see that they are in this situation because they each take on a vital role (the natural leader, the math genius, the paranoid conspiracy theorist...) within the cube, but we never truly learn why these roles are necessary to the "experiment". We just accept it, just as the characters do, and by doing so we heighten our emotional investment in their success. It's manipulative filmmaking at it's best.
Lion's Gate's Cube Signature Series DVD is presented in a newly remastered widescreen anamorphic transfer that is very crisp and colourful, and also features a new Dolby DTS 5.1 audio mix. The extras are all carry-overs from the original release, save for a new commentary by Natali and a short interview with star Nicole de Boer. There are three deleted scenes, trailers, conceptual sketches, multi-angle storyboards, and a storyboard to film comparison, as well as a small gallery of photos. A nice package overall, but I really wish they'd tacked on a making-of documentary or something that dug a little deeper into the process.
Cube is a shining example of what can be accomplished with a great idea and a relatively small amount of money. Fans who already own the original DVD may be out off by the recycling of extras, but the new transfer and audio mix, as well as the new commentary by Natali, may be worth the price of an upgrade.