2004 / Director. Ernie Babarash.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I recently revisited the CUBE trilogy. The first film is rightfully considered a cult classic and the sequel is mostly ridiculed amongst sci-fi geeks... but few people (at least in Australia) are aware that there was a third film and that it is a prequel. CUBE ZERO is a much more fitting instalment that almost compliments the original film. It shares most of the same aesthetic with it's grim industrial tones and steely constructions. I have often discussed what makes the original CUBE such a good film and that it's ambiguity and unanswered questions are where it's strength lies. That whole mystery of "how, what & why?" is what divided a lot of people and for those seeking answers CUBE ZERO is what they want to see. This film removes itself from the cube and predominantly takes place from the control room of an underground facility with every room within the cube monitored by two low-grade employees. We learn how people are selected for the cube and some secrets of the original film are revealed. This instalment frustrates me a lot. While it has done a decent job of recreating the atmosphere of the first film it is let down by poorly written characters and a tacky el-cheapo control-room set design. The secrets revealed are satisfying, even if we never really wanted answers, but the execution of these revelations is really bad. Dreamy flashback sequences of people's lives before the cube drag the entire thing into telemovie territory and cheapen what is already a borderline experiment. It also goes for the shock value, cashing in on the popularity of torture-porn at the time. The kills in this movie belong in the SAW series and they are far too gratuitous for this franchise. CUBE ZERO doesn't get much love for me but it does receive faint kudos for being better than part 2.