Halloween Spooktacular: Day Nineteen-ish

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Cube, 1997
dir. Vincenzo Natali

[DISCLAIMER: I had to do this a day late because I had no time yesterday to watch the film. This will happen tomorrow as well, since I’ll be out from 8:30AM-11PM, but I’ll review stuff on Saturday; today I’ll watch two films]

This was excellent! It’s a shame that Vincenzo Natali’s career didn’t take off as well as it should have because this film is fantastic, and Splice is great as well. He has really good sense of tension and pacing, and the whole set up for this film is really interesting. The way this film was shot is very ingenious, and you can’t really tell that it’s all handheld camera, which to me is a super kudos because when you CAN tell the handheld camera is there is a huge big fat irritating bummer (looking at you, American Honey.)

The cube itself as a set is great, because by virtue of being so Nothing it becomes extremely oppressive, and it almost reflects the characters’ frustrations back at themselves, which in a way fuels their anger at the situation and at each other. And these characters were really great, because it flip-flopped the usual tropes of films like these, when the hero guy ended up being the super villain who is a gigantic asshole. All the characters have their little moments, even Kazan, which is neat.

This is definitely an underrated movie. There are moments of real tension there, when they are in the sound-activated cube, when they find the edge of the supercube-thing and Holloway drops, at the end when Quentin catches up to them. And the biggest moment of tension is this thrumming kind of feeling that carries through the whole film. You’re expecting these characters to all turn out to be child molesters or drug addicts or money launderers, because why else would they be in this punishing situation, but it turns out that they are just regular people who were probably (maybe? we never really find out) randomly picked out to be in this cube, for no apparent reason. And this lack of purpose for the cube or for their being in the cube is the most terrifying aspect of it all because it’s not really a punishment, it just exists. This nihilism is pretty fascinating to me.

Props to Mr Natali, he has wowed me again.



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