On the cusp of Saw breaking big, Cube Zero was the final attempt at propelling this franchise about people being stuck in elaborate traps into the mainstream. Directed by Cube 2: Hypercube producer Ernie Barbarash, it is the third film in the bunch and a prequel to the original. It showcases not only the amnesiac captives navigating the ever-shifting prison but also the guards in the control room tasked with watching over the mayhem.
Cube Zero gets away from computer FX and brings the emphasis back to practical tech. Since this is supposed to be an earlier model of the cube, it makes sense that the trap rooms have a simpler style. The bloody bits extracted by the no-no chambers, especially the goopy intro, succeed at making the squeamish squirm.
I found the most interesting parts to be in the control room. Here are two guys (not unlike the employees in The Cabin in the Woods) who are dopey, harmless schleps in jumpsuits slowly learning they might not have as much control over the situation as they once thought. Add in a visit from the top brass upstairs and you have yourself a hoot. Seriously, the man who played the one-eyed “fixer” stole the show.
The story, however, is not to be praised. Its thinner than the gas in a deflating balloon leaving the atmosphere. Metaphors only. Cube Zero wants you to think it is pulling back the curtain, but reveals more questions than answers. An unbelievable resolution taints this otherwise competent B-movie. While its not the fresh idea Cube was, Cube Zero might knock off one of your socks, but only one.
3 cribbed cube coordinates out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2018)
INVASION ON CHESTNUT RIDGE
To find out there is a hotbed of unexplained activity not far from my lair is curious. Invasion on Chestnut Ridge chronicles stories told by unrelated townsfolk with unique circumstances. The documentary covers a slew of the paranormal. Alien abductions, Bigfoot sightings, Thunderbirds and other cryptids make the list. Some of the stories are so strange that it makes me want to believe these people. Its easy to dismiss them as wanting attention or mass hysteria, but the happenings are so peculiar that it really makes you think there might be something in those hills magnetizing the weird and extraordinary.
3 allegation anthologies out of 5
Hot on the heels of their success with Super Troopers, Broken Lizard released their spoof of island getaways Club Dread. The tiki theme, murder mystery plot, and hang-loose setting could be compared to a more wacky and adult version of a more popular movie that had just come out: Scooby-Doo. The caricatures of the different people you might find on such a lavish retreat are spot-on, and they are to be laughed at up until the point of overbearing annoyance. While it doesn’t have the same spark as Super Troopers or other meatier BL fare, Club Dread makes its own mark on the summer slaughter circuit.
4 wet, wild, and willing wasteds out of 5