Macabre…ish Horror Review: Cube


Cube, 2021/ 1 hr 49 min.



After a man (Tokio Emoto) enters a room through a hatch, he finds more of the same in other rooms, in the last one, he is impaled by a huge cookie cutter like spike that shoots out of the wall. It takes a square chunk out of him, the size of a big book, when it retracts, he falls over dead.


Three others, Yuichi Goto (Masaki Suda), Shinji Ochi (Masaki Okada) and Chiharu Uno (Hikaru Tashiro) two men and a boy, also wake up in an unfamiliar room with no memory and no personal effects. While they sit and think, a hatch overhead opens, a boot flies in and an injured man, Ide (Takumi Saito), drops in behind it. You can tell he’s been in the Cube a while. He ignores the trio and the cube shifts. He climbs up to the top hatch over head and the man who died from impaling, falls through including, the giant block of him that was carved out.


Then a woman, Asako Kai (Anne Watanabe), enters through yet another hatch. None of them know each other or how they came to be in this place.


When Ide tosses his boot into another room, flames shoot out of a wall. The newcomers are quickly learning, this place is dangerous. Ide teaches them to check each room before they enter.


The newly formed group move on through the maze together. They work out that they were all kidnapped while they were asleep or they’re dreaming. Ochi wonders if they are on a tv show and starts screaming for help, after Ide shuts him up, they keep going. Goto soon realizes each hatch has a series of numbers, they think they’re like IP addresses and some hatches do not open at all.


But in one room they find an older man, Ando (Kōtarō Yoshida), he says he’s a company executive who found himself alone there. He’s confused as to why a child is in the Cube and mistakes the group for a rescue team. He’s upset to find them captives, just like himself.


They make a misstep and end up in a room with a drop down ceiling full of blades spinning like propellers, Goto was supposed to have cleared the room. And now they can’t get any of the other hatches to open, at the last minute they get the floor hatch open and drop through.


They’re all traumatized by the last room and retreat into their own corners of the next one. All except the very shy and withdrawn, Chiharu, who’s getting closer to Goto, who saved his life. But Chiharu has a fear and hatred of adults. With a spare button, on the floor, he works out a math problem and figures which rooms are safe. Trap rooms have prime numbers.


Goto jumps into a room with an even number to prove to Chiharu that he trusts him and that he is right, after Ando doubts him.


Then they arrive at a crossroads, a room where all the rooms, except the one they came from, have traps. And when they attempt to go back, the hatch, is locked. Ando demands the numbers be checked again. While doing just that, they find a room that deploys the trap, with sound. But if they make no noise, they might be able to make it. Goto goes first. Once he makes it, the others follow.


But then Ochi drops his boot and deploys the trap, Ando is last and is yanked through the hatch at the last second before he’s flayed into chunks. But he does get a scrape and he’s pissed about it.


Ando is becoming more unhinged and suddenly thinks Ochi is a plant to get him killed. He lashes out in anger. And Ochi is not taking it well, he’s starting to lose his grip. Then Shiharu figures out the cube’s dimensions and number. Suddenly the room fills with gas. But it’s not deadly.


The next hatch they open, they find a room they’ve already been in. On the floor lays the corpse missing a cube of flesh. But it makes no sense, they were traveling in a more or less, straight line.


When the cube shuffles again, Shiharu falls into a trap room because he was sitting in a hatch when it happened, Goto dives for him. He’s having flashbacks of a suicide he witnessed. In the room, there are lasers and Goto and Shiharu take turns pushing eat other out of the beams path. Until Ide, jumps in and saves them both, costing him his life.


Next, they work out the math and it looks like they are 4 rooms from the edge of the cube. But Ochi is in despair and has given up. Ando is holding a grudge against Goto, no matter how hard he tries. Ando wonders if the cube is punishment. Which brings back flashbacks of Goto’s abusive childhood.


Ando opens up about not being a good person and being irredeemable and he’d deserve it if it is punishment. Then bars shoot up from the floor, splitting the room in half, Ando and Ochi, on one side and Shiharu, Kai and Goto, on the other. Ando chooses suicide by entering a trap room. Then Ochi makes the same choice.


Goto, Kai and Chiharu continue to what they hope will be the edge. They get to the second to last room and Goto’s memory is projected onto the wall. With him trying talk his brother off the ledge of a building. It’s hard to watch.


Meanwhile, in another part of the cube, Ando and Ochi didn’t die in that room. But Ando is horrible to Ochi and Ochi snaps and that’s how Ando meets his end.


Shiharu questions Goto about why he stopped himself from saving his brother. And reiterates that’s why he doesn’t like adults. Shiharu opens the floor hatch and jumps in, Goto dives for him and catches him. As Shiharu bawls in Goto’s arms, Kai opens the last hatch. It opens into empty space, in a giant building.


They see a few rooms moving outside of the cube. And Kai knows of one that does, the room with 999 at it’s center. On their way they find Ochi and not only is he acting different, they notice he’s covered in blood but he lies and says a trap killed Ando. Shiharu is rightfully scared of him because Ochi has a big grin on his face when he says it.


Shiharu later asks what happened to Ando and gets the same lie. So Shiharu tells Goto he thinks Ochi is lying. Ochi attacks when they try to get away and he confesses. Since he wants to die anyway, he might as well kill.


Just as Goto is winning the fight, the ceiling hatch opens and skewers Ochi from all different directions. As he and Shiharu try to leave the room, the revolving room moves again before he can get in. He’s left behind. Kai and Shiharu find the exit but they wonder if the world out there, is any better or even worth it.


Back in the cube, Goto is torn up but still alive. For now… And there are a new batch of players.


This was directed by Yasuhiko Shimizu and it is a reimagining of the original. The characters loosely match the archetypes from the first film: Goto - David Worth, Kai - Joan Leaven, Ochi - Dr. Helen Hathaway, Chiharu - Kazan, The first victim - Alderson, Ide - Rennes and Ando - Quentin McNeil.


But they, thankfully, do not match perfectly, they are evolved to fit and tell a new story. I enjoyed the different take. There’s somewhat less gore and violence than the original and some of the traps are different but awesome. The end was different but is a different kind of unknown and scary. This one also has quite a few sad flash backs.