Who could have know Vincenzo Natali’s 1997 scifi classic Cube would have generated not one, but two, sequels - like its own little twisted scifi/mystery/horror franchise. I mean, we’re not talking about a mainstream, easy accessible movie - the first one - more an open-ended artyfarty trip with a dash of good old commercialism. Give years after the first one made a successful run over the world the sequel - in good Canadian tradition - came, this time mostly - I guess - direct to video; Cube 2: Hypercube. I remember how people disliked quite a bit when it came, but I felt attracted to the different visual style, and I still do now when I’ve finally watched it again after all these years.
As usual in the Cube-universe, a bunch of people (a confused old woman, a blind young girl, a passive-aggressive hacker, a tough woman, a gangster-type brute etc - all with their own reason to be there) find themselves trapped inside a gigant construction made of constantly moving cube-shaped rooms. You can get into every room, but in some of them there’s deadly secrets. This time the Cube is behaving odder, it’s white and with strange, surrealistic, traps - not especially physical, more digital in shape. But they can kill, oh yeah. Don’t except anything else. It’s difficult to tell the story without spoiling it, so I’m stopping here.
The Cube films are basically like the Saw films, but before that franchise even started. But this time the concept is to figure out why people are there and what secrets they hide, not that the necessary should learn something and be grateful etc etc etc. Anyway, I guess the second Cube is a bit disappointing for conservative genre fans because it builds a lot of its tension on digital effects, and not especially good ones either - but remember, there’s a point it looks this way and it fits perfectly into the saga. It’s a logical step from the first film without actually changing that much.
What struck me the most with Hypercube is how the actors are weaker, or at least a directed by a less experienced director. Andrzej Sekula is a very competent cinematopgrapher (he was Tarantinos choice for Reservoirs Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Four Rooms, and later charming genre productions like Vacancy and American Psycho), but he feels unsure when it comes to handle the sensitive beings called actors. Everyone seems to act a little bit too much instead of keeping it low-key which would fit this franchise a lot better.
I’m not really sure the reason why everyone is there holds together in the end, it’s pretty weak on that department, but still hangs together quite good if you don’t analyze the dramaturgical structure to close.
I’ve always loved movies based on digital and mathematical mumbo jumbo (probably because I don’t understand it!) and Hypercube is no exception. It’s one of those movies I just enjoy for what it is and doesn’t give a shit about the rest.