DIRECTED BY: Andrzej Sekula
FEATURING: Kari Matchett
PLOT: Just as in the 1997 surprise hit, eight strangers wake up stripped of
their memories in a mysterious, deadly cube composed of indistinguishable rooms–but this second generation “hypercube” has some new tricks to play on its captives.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Cube 2: Hypercube can get pretty weird, especially when the film throws in gratuitous alternate realities in an attempt to up the original Cube‘s ante. The sequel also does a fair-to-middling job of recreating the atmosphere of paranoia and existential anxiety from the original. The first movie is a classic, but if there is to be room for more than one Cube movie on the list of 366, Hypercube needs to take the series in a startling, original new direction. This, it fails to do; the sequel merely attempts to provide this audience more of what they loved about the first movie. It can’t possibly achieve this feat, however, because what people loved about the original was it’s originality: the shock and surprise of finding a low-budget independent science fiction gem that was thoughtful, exciting, and weird.
COMMENTS: Cube 2: Hypercube is of interest mainly to fans of the original who want to revisit the cube and hope only for a few new twists. The CGI special effects are mildly upgraded, and the cube has a new gleaming white color scheme, which may make some happy. One of the things that made the original so exhilarating, however, was the varying reactions of characters to the predicament of being trapped inside the bizarre structure: some fight to survive, some give up hope, some become paranoid and suspect their fellow travelers know something about the cube and are trying to deceive them, some simply go mad. The way the trapped inmates bounced off one another made Cube at times seem more like a character-centered play rather than an effects-centered movie. Although Cube 2 tires to recapture this interplay, wooden acting from several of the leads frustrates the attempt.
Cube 2: Hypercube also stumbles when it takes baby steps towards trying to explain why the cube exists. In the original, although the structure exhibited signs of order that suggested a diabolical intelligence behind it, there was no unambiguous hint to its origin or purpose; this made the cube a powerful metaphor for brute existence. While trying to recapture the ambiance of the first movie, Cube 2 deliberately takes steps towards demolishing its essence.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“…Cube 2 is somewhat more gimmicky and certainly less conceptually neat than the first Cube was. There’s lot of fascinatingly weird happenings and these are all eventually given an explanation – alas not one that comes with the beautiful sense of a puzzle falling into place that we saw in the first film. The disparity can clearly be seen in comparing the story structure of the two – the first film has the logic of a detective story unfolding, whereas Cube 2 is merely a flight through a collapsing labyrinth.” –Richard Scheib, Moria: The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Movie Review Site