Cube (2023) directed by Yasuhiko Shimizu, attempts to revisit the intriguing concept of the original Canadian science fiction horror film from 1997. While it introduces a new Japanese cast and setting, it falls short of capturing the suspense and innovation that made the original a cult classic.
The story kicks off with a man waking up in a chilling, cube-shaped room with mysterious hatches leading to different, equally enigmatic chambers. In a cruel and gruesome fashion, he encounters the deadly nature of his predicament as he becomes impaled by a metal square within moments of entry.
As more characters, including Goto, Uno, Ochi, Kai, and Ide, find themselves in the same perplexing situation, it becomes evident that none of them can remember how or why they got there. Panic ensues as they realize that each room is booby-trapped, forcing them to navigate a maze of perilous challenges.
The film’s cast features notable Japanese actors, including Masaki Suda, Anne Watanabe, and Masaki Okada, among others. They do their best to bring life to characters who are plagued by amnesia and constantly confronted with life-threatening obstacles. Unfortunately, the characters’ development falls short of making us truly care about their fates.
One of the primary criticisms of Cube (2023) is its repetitiveness. The characters encounter room after room with increasingly lethal traps, and the film struggles to maintain tension and interest throughout. Viewers may find themselves feeling trapped in a cycle of predictability.
Ultimately, Cube (2023) fails to capture the essence and impact of the original. While it attempts to reimagine the claustrophobic nightmare of being trapped in a deadly maze, it lacks the innovation, suspense, and character depth that made the 1997 version a cult favorite. James Marsh’s review for the South China Morning Post sums it up well, describing the film as “repetitive and sluggish,” with characters that can be challenging to empathize with.
Cube (2023) may appeal to those who are curious to see a different cultural take on the concept, but it falls short of recapturing the magic of the original and may leave viewers longing for the innovative and suspenseful storytelling that made the Canadian version a cult classic.