Scraping the bottom of the barrel… something decent came out. Jigsaw – spoiler filled movie review

John Kramer, star and saving grace of the Saw franchise had long gone, beaten up and violated by an endless stream of tiresome sequels rather than killed off by cancer as it’s claimed in Saw III.

Jigsaw 1However, he still manages to be brought back to life in Jigsaw. A movie that kicks off with five people held captive in a barn, each with a metal noose around their neck. If you’re familiar with this 14-year-long franchise, you’d expect this to be the by-now famous first trap that’s shown before the movie title appears on screen.

 

Continue reading “Scraping the bottom of the barrel… something decent came out. Jigsaw – spoiler filled movie review”

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TOP 10 laughably bad scenes in 2017 horror movies (so far)

As some of you might now, I’ve written a top 10 spookiest scenes post to celebrate Friday the 13th appropriately.

While recalling the chilling sequences in horror movies I watched this year, I also remembered some of the worst ones. However, with this post I decided to list up the 10 most hilariously awful moments in horror films that came out in 2017. Therefore, I left aside those plain awful or boring scenes, in order to focus on and get some enjoyment from some involuntarily bad bits. I hope you will enjoy!

10 Dance like crazySplit. I was very keen on the latest Shyamalan’s movie in my review. However, upon watching it again, I noticed some elements that didn’t quite work: as such, when Kevin – the villain with split personality – puts up a dance scene in front of the main girl, I laughed out loud. This scene is hilarious, but I’m not sure whether it tries to be or not…

Leatherface 39 Leatherface trying to speakLeatherface. On top of a terribly executed movie, the otherwise rather decent final climax gets ruined by the clumsy, awkward attempt to speak by the titular character whose mouth has been previously sewn shut. As the audience, we are supposed to feel for and be creeped out by him, but the scene is so poorly made that Leatherface looks more like a teenager on MDMA (or like Sylvester Stallone…) rather than the unsettling antihero he is.

8 Chucky minions Cult of Chucky. The 7th instalment of this campy franchise was surprisingly enjoyable, in my opinion. However, when three little possessed dolls with different haircuts surround the weird psychiatrist, I couldn’t help but laugh all the air out of my lungs: they reminded me so much of the minions from the animated Despicable Me franchise.

7 Oh shit, the train! The Bye Bye Man. This January movie is hilariously bad and contains so many WTF?! moments. Also, it has an inexplicable fetish for trains. Thus, when one of the main characters has a vision caused by the titular Bye Bye Man, she runs on a railway and gets run over by a train. A huge, fat, loud train that she didn’t see coming until it was too late: the girl’s face right before she dies is priceless and it seriously made my day!

Raw GIF6 I’m a tasty girlRaw. This one might be hard to sell, because people seem to love this artsy coming-of-age French horror. I hated it, even though I’ll never deny it’s a rather well-made film from a technical standpoint. Anyway, when Justine discovers her cannibal tendencies, she starts to bite herself up while having sex with her roommate. People might find that disturbing, but the way that scene was handled made me chuckle quite a bit.

5 Catfight – Wish UponI hated this factory product, guys. This movie is just plain silly and boring. Fortunately, though, when the lead girl pulls up a slap-fight with a cheerleader in the school cafeteria, the audience can burst out in laughter. Surely, this isn’t what the director tries to achive. But hey, it makes for a ridiculously bad and memorable sequence!

Bye Bye Man 24 Wink wink little starThe Bye Bye Man. This movie makes me laugh so hard that I think it will become one of my guilty pleasures. In the “pinnacle of tension” (the bunny ears are very much needed), one of the guys haunted by the Bye Bye Man winks to a police officer played by Trinity from The Matrix (I’ve no idea what Carrie-Ann Moss is doing in this flick, by the way) that winks back at him. Their surprised reactions cracked me up: it’s the Bye Bye Man who made them wink! Such an evil entity… what is he going to do next? Make them clap hands? I don’t know if I’d have the guts to stand it…

3 CGI spiders are a recipe for disaster The Evil Within. After a 15-year-long making process, The Evil Within came out as one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017. However, a CGI spider crafted with technology that dates back in 2003 pops up on screen in two sequences and it just looks… awful. Laughably awful, that is. Hey, if you’ve seen IT – the 1990 miniseries – you know that this idea never works!

2 Killings by the lake Lake Alice. Oh man, I love this movie! This indie, straight to DVD piece of garbage features some of the worst acting, story and killings I have ever seen. But they are hilarious! Mostly, the bloodless killings that turn this flick into the worst slasher ever made and, in my opinion, an amazing “so bad, it’s great” movie. Seriously, Lake Alice needs to be seen to be believed!

1 “I’ll do the fingering” Alien: Covenant. Perhaps, you saw this one coming. Covenant is not, per se, a terrible movie, but it’s definitely the most disappointing one I have seen in 2017, as a big fan of the Alien franchise. This scene, and the entire sequence, takes itself so seriously but it’s just plain laughable. The “I’ll do the fingering” quote probably marks the most hilarious moment I experienced in a theatre the entire year!

Everything wrong with Alien: Covenant (spoiler filled)

Have you ever been let down – big time – by, say, a friend who turned out to be a huge disappointment instead of the amazing person you depicted him/her to be?

Well, said friend is Alien: Covenant (2017) for me. I love Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986), I find Prometheus (2012) mentally challenging in the best way possible, I like Alien 3 (1992) and I even enjoy Alien vs Predator (2004) as a guilty pleasure.

Naturally, then, my expectations for Alien: Covenant were very high. I so decided to venture beyond the surface of the film to explain why Ridley Scott’s latest movie is a huge disappointment for me.

In order to do that, I will have to include spoilers for both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant – if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want its story ruined, check out my spoiler free review of Alien: Covenant. Also, I decided to focus on the negative elements of this motion pictures, meaning: the movie is not entirely rubbish, but here I’ll talk about everything wrong with it.

For a big fan of the franchise as I am, Alien: Covenant was really painful to (re)watch. Therefore, I have to thank my girlfriend who sat through it with me and endured my sarcastic and frustrated comments during the runtime.

The film opens with David’s (Michael Fassbender) backstory that we get to know through a dialogue between the synthetic and Mr Weyland (Guy Pearce). Although interesting, the scene raises more questions rather than starting to answer those left hanging in Prometheus. On top of that, it seems to set a Prometheus-ish tone that, on the contrary, will be betrayed as soon as the title appears on screen.

Soon enough, Alien: Covenant turns into an Alien movie, rather than a continuation of Prometheus. I’ll explain later why this is a bad thing.

Everything wrong 1.jpgWe are now on the Covenant, a spaceship directed to an uninhabited planet they hope to colonise. Out of 15 crew members, including Walter (another humanoid played by Fassbender as well), there are three married couples. This is the first sign of lazy writing.

No risky mission in the universe will allow couples to travel together… unless their inclusion has the sole purpose of convey emotions that, otherwise, would be lacking due to little acting skills of most of the cast members and non-existent chemistry on screen.

Basically, the first act of the movie is a big build-up in which nothing unseen happens and the characters appear one-dimensional: Walter-Fassbender and the dialogue between Daniels and the captain are the only enjoyable moments.

As you know if you saw the film or read my previous Alien: Covenant review, most of the crew lands on a habitable planet from which they received a suspicious signal by an unknown source.

Once they arrive on the planet, we are struck by incredible landscapes backed up by spotless cinematography and gorgeous visual effects.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere of awe is ruined in 0.2 seconds by a crew member who approaches a field saying: “Believe me, this is wheat, I know wheat”. No shit Sherlock! This brief sequence sums up both the disposability of the characters and the lazy storytelling featured in Covenant.

Finally, something relevant happens: two of the crew members are infected by an airborne unknown virus – which, who saw Prometheus, would recognise as the lethal weapon transported by the Engineers on their spacecraft.

However, the ‘infection sequences’ are highly predictable and reminiscent of those B-movies in which a teenager goes to take a leak and gets butchered by the killer. In fact, all the ‘thrilling moments’ are foreseeable in Covenant and, therefore, not as effective as they could have been.

Then, two monstrous creatures burst from the back and chest of our unlucky infected characters and furiously attack the rest of the crew and kill some of them in the goriest way possible. As I said in my previous review, these sequences would have been awesome if only horrendous Dutch angles, poor lighting, nauseating camera-work wouldn’t be there.

Oh, and it also would have been nice to have characters who don’t act like complete assholes!

Everything wrong 2Furthermore, the Neomorphs (these creatures born from the airborne virus that impregnates humans) feature very poor CGI: in both Alien and Aliens, the Xenomorphs are entirely practical and, therefore, frightening and timeless. On the contrary, the monsters in Covenant look already fake and, soon enough, will look dated.

The attack sequences, very fast-paced, are followed by a caped saviour who rescue the remaining crew members and take them to a ‘safe place’ (i.e. the now uninhabited city of the Engineers). The mysterious rescuer reveals himself as David, who landed on the planet with Doc Elizabeth Shaw 10 years before.

Now, the pace gets, once again, slow, showing how pacing and matching of tones represent one of the biggest issues of the film.

Everything wrong 4David carries the plot along and, while providing a very interesting backstory to his character, gives the audience some involuntarily laughable scenes (“look at me, I’ll do the fingering”) and spoon feeds the viewers, filling the gaps between Prometheus and Covenant.

David-Fassbender explains to Walter-Fassbender that the Engineers’ civilisation was, accidentally, destroyed by David himself who, unwillingly, dropped tons on lethal weapons on them and crashed the spaceship in the process, killing doctor Shaw in the crash.

Everything wrong 3.jpgIt’s very obvious, as it will be discovered a few scenes later, that David wanted to kill the Engineers in one of his delusions of grandeur. He, also, killed Elizabeth Shaw by infecting her with the virus in order to give birth to a new species. It’s clear, at this point, that David’s motivations revolve around his desire to be creator instead of mere creature.

However, the mass massacre of the Engineers seems clearly motivated by Ridley Scott’s decision not to continue the Prometheus universe expansion. In this way, we will probably never get answers to the questions cleverly raised in the 2012 film.

Anyhow, the story progresses with the Neomorph getting killed by the captain of the crew who, then, is guided by David to a Facehuggers nest where, obviously, he gets impregnated and gives birth to the first Xenomorph.

Wait a second, weren’t there two Neomorph? What happened to the second one? The film doesn’t bother to give us any answer, again. This is a humongous plot hole which I don’t know how can be overlooked by critics and viewers.

Also, at the end of Prometheus, a Xenomorph bursts out of the chest of the last remaining Engineer. However, in this case the creature is the product of a mixture of Engineer’s and big octopus-like monster’s DNA. How the hell two different DNA combinations (octopus + Engineer and human + Facehugger) can give birth to the same creature?

This goes beyond the suspension of disbelief. Mind you, I’m not criticising the genetic/scientific aspect of it. Instead, I’m pointing at the lack of coherence within the Alien universe.

everything wrong 5Back to the story: the first Xenomorph bursts out of the captain’s chest and David is before him, putting his hands up. What’s the reaction of the laughable CGI creature? It imitates David and puts its hands up as well! That’s too much to take. I can’t believe Ridley Scott turned the most iconic monster in cinema history (his monster) into a freaking pet!

Everything wrong 6.jpgObviously, the Xenomorph has an exponential growth, gets to the adult stage quickly and starts to hunt down the rest of the crew. Only Tennessee (McBride) and Daniels (clear replacement for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley) survive, after the two Xenomorphs (oh yeah, there is another one because another Facehugger previously impregnated another disposable character) kill the rest of the crew.

Meanwhile, there is a face-off between David-Fassbender and Walter-Fassbender, which ends with the evil David in disguise replacing the loyal Walter on the spaceship.

Before I conclude, I want to pinpoint two major issues that bothered me ever since I watched Covenant for the first time.

Firstly, David wants to create the perfect living creature and, finally, become a creator. However, in the original Alien movies, the Xenomorphs weren’t created by anyone in particular. Their society resembled a hive, with a queen giving birth to eggs filled with Facehuggers who stayed dormant until they got in contact with other living beings. Covenant ignores all of that and originates a parallel, less impactful Alien universe.

Everything wrong 7Secondly, why would David not be fully satisfied with the Neomorphs and want to improve upon them? In the original three movies (I refuse to consider Resurrection part of the franchise), the Xenomorphs are perfect killing machines. In Covenant, instead, the Neomorphs look faster, scarier and, above all, their system of reproduction is airborne, meaning they’re easier to create and spread.

All in all, Alien: Covenant is not an awful movie per se. However, is the worst film possible for the Alien franchise: it confuses the storyline, tones down the terror deriving from the Xenomorphs, tries unsuccessfully to recreate the same atmosphere of better Alien films and ignores the existence of Prometheus. Simply put, Covenant is a bloody mess.

If you are wondering my personal ranking for the Alien franchise, there you go:

 

Alien
Aliens
Prometheus
Alien 3
Alien vs Predator (yes, I’m serious)
Alien: Covenant 

Alien: Resurrection
Alien vs Predator: Requiem

The movies of James Wan, part III – Insidious (2010) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

*Skip the premise if you read the previous posts*

Regarded by many as the best horror director working today, James Wan (27 February 1977) went on also screenwriting and producing many of his movie as well as various flicks connected to his works, such as the Saw and Insidious sequels.

Being able to revitalise several horror clichés, such as tiresome jump-scares and redundant possession-driven plots, Mr. Wan is surrounded by a claque of die-hard fans.

Independently from the single person’s opinion, throughout the last 15 years or so James Wan has had a strong impact on both the independent horror market and the public discussions on the genre. Because of his impact, I decided to analyse and review his movie from the perspective of a neutral horror-lover and passionate moviegoer. I hope you will enjoy this new series.

*Check my previous series on here and here*

Insidious (2010) tells the story of a married couple whose oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) ends up in an inexplicable coma after falling from a ladder in the new house’s attic. After three months of treatment without result, Dalton’s parents Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) are allowed to take Dalton home where, soon after, paranormal activity begins to occur and involve all the family members, including the other children (Foster and Kali) and their grandma Lorraine (Barbara Hershey).

I can imagine what you all think: “I’ve been there, I’ve seen the same story thousands of times already!”. And yes, besides a small detour – “It’s not the house that’s haunted. It’s your son”, the famous quote referring to the out of body experience of Dalton – the plot has nothing new to offer to the hunted house sub-genre.

However, the execution sets Insidious apart from most of the similarly plot-driven films.

hero_InsidiousChapter2-2013-1Clearly executed in a highly stylistic, old-fashioned(-ish) way, the movie recalls an old style of horror filmmaking, relying on all the clichés you can think of but, at the same time, renewing them. The infamous jump-scares are revitalised in Insidious due to Wan’s direction, which relates them to those moments and situations when the audience is actually supposed to be frightened.

Beyond that, the unsettling atmosphere is established also through a great camera-work, supported by immaculate editing choices, and an eerie score which gets under your skin increasing the creepiness of the movie.

Insidious21Furthermore, the characters are compelling and the chemistry between them is palpable and feels real, mostly thanks to Patrick Wilson. On a serious note, why the guy doesn’t star in more films? If you’ve seen him in Hard Candy (2005), you can’t help but notice he is nothing less than a great actor.

Back to Insidious, there are three other characters I didn’t talk about yet: the demonologists Elise Reiner (amazingly portrayed by Lin Shaye) and her sidekicks Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). Called by Lorraine to help Dalton getting rid of the entity who is possessing hid body, Elise gives us the background to this world (the Further) where demons hide and people born with the ability to travel mentally to the astral plane (like Dalton and his dad, Josh) can get lost. Beyond being a bit too heavily exposed, this key concept introduces us to a universe we will be able to experience again and more in-depth in Chapter 2.

Before jumping to the ending and my final thoughts on Insidious, I can’t refuse to mention Specs and Tucker: many viewers hate these characters and consider them the weakest part of the movie. On the contrary, I believe they are the show stealers to some extent. They provide this light, quirky comic relief which is vital in this movie, which thanks to them gets also funny and entertaining.

ade7f5246cbc933b0c9cd80495670300As the last two characters mentioned, the ending of Insidious is very polarising and I can, in all honesty, see why. The final head-to-head between Josh and the Lipstick-Face Demon (yes, I know its name. How nerdy is that?) looks a bit cartoonish and not as tense as the rest of the film was. But, seriously, it doesn’t ruin the film either.

Nevertheless, Insidious is a first-class horror movie. And me claiming it, really does say something, since I’m usually more intrigued and curious about hybrid and non-cliché films. In fact, Insidious might be one of those rare cases when a movie pleases both the average viewer – the one who says Paranormal Activity and Silent Hills are good movies, for instance – and the mature audience as well. Yes, highly recommended for everybody.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) kicks off right after the events of the second movie and we are immediately immersed in the world we got to learn throughout the first instalment.

insidious-chapter-2-horror-movies-2013_0Same characters, same cast, same problems for our main guys to deal with – although the Red-Face Demon (A.K.A. the Lipstick-Face Demon. Gosh, I’m a freaking nerd!) is replaced by The Old Lady, which is a better and more realistic villain, in my opinion at least. She also resembles a lot Mary Shaw from Dead Silence, as I hinted in the review of that movie.

Anyway, this movie takes also a different direction compared to the first one. Indeed, there is a mystery/paranormal detective investigation which adds layers of interest to the story but, contemporarily, makes it drag a bit too much.

insidious-insidious-24669369-1280-536Nevertheless, what Chapter 2 perfectly achieves is the characters’ arc development. The protagonists, once again, look like real, reliable people.

Let’s get it out of the way: Chapter 2 is a great sequel because it fills the gaps of the first movie and, in general, it enriches plot and characters. Long story short, it’s a necessary sequel, not one made to milk more money out of people’s pockets.

Although I would slightly pick the first over the second instalment, I believe these films should be watched together as chapters of the same story (as the title suggests). Unlike the third movie in the franchise which, beyond not being completely terrible, is quite useless and disposable. But it’s not directed by James Wan either, so this is not the place and the moment to tackle it. Cheers!

The movies of James Wan, part I – Saw (2004)

Regarded by many as the best horror director working today, James Wan (27 February 1977) went on also screenwriting and producing many of his movie as well as various flicks connected to his works, such as the Saw and Insidious sequels.

Being able to revitalise several horror clichés, such as tiresome jump-scares and redundant possession-driven plots, Mr. Wan is surrounded by a claque of die-hard fans.

Independently from the single person’s opinion, throughout the last 15 years or so James Wan has had a strong impact of both the independent horror market and the public discussions on the genre. Because of his impact, I decided to analyse and review his movie from the perspective of a neutral horror-lover and passionate moviegoer. I hope you will enjoy this new series.

*Check my previous series on here and here*

Saw (2004) is the movie that set Wan to the Olympus of horror cinema directors and gave birth to the second highest grossing horror franchise in movie history – only behind the Friday the 13th films by a margin of $10 million. Also, alongside with Leigh Whannell – who went on writing and producing nearly all the Wan’s movies – Mr. Wan has been working on the synopsis of Saw for almost 10 years.

Beyond the technical aspects, indeed the passion behind Saw is clear, almost tangible. Most of the horror fans have noticed it, since this film is considered as a masterpiece among them; however, the critics have drastically scaled it down and given it quite mediocre grades.

As per usual, though, I am not quite apt to be convinced by others’ opinion and I try to be unbiased as much as possible in my reviews.

That’s why, even from a technical standpoint, I’d say Saw looks carefully made, with great attention to the locations, smart utilisation of colours and tones, spot on and subtle soundtrack. The production values, although not perfect, are astounding considering the small budget Wan and Whannell had on their disposal.

saw-1-01Assuming that everybody knows the plot, I am going to explain it very briefly: two men awoke in a dirty, desolated bathroom. They are chained to the furniture and nearby a dead body with its head smashed. While they are figuring out a way to escape from this nightmare, Jigsaw – the villain – talks to them through a creepy doll, telling them what to do and explaining his motivations. In the meantime, a police squad led by Danny Glover is trying to solve the mystery surrounding tons of gory and nasty deaths which occurred in the area and that eventually will lead to save the two trapped men and reveal Jigsaw’s identity.

Despite its alleged originality, Saw clearly has its ancestor in Cube (1997) in regards to tone and plot. However, James Wan’s first film is executed in such a mature and convincing way that it is tough not to praise him for what he has achieved. The twist at the end, which I am not going to spoil, although probably everybody has seen it, is amazing and totally unexpected.

jeff-tapp-singUltimately, even though most of the people seem to enjoy this movie for its gory element and the complexity of the tortures, the great extra value of Saw consists of utilising them as accessary to the movie, not as necessary. Whereas the sequels did the exact same opposite, which is the main reason why I simply cannot even stand their existence and, thus, their success.

Nevertheless, this film has a couple of flaws, namely the acting, which is really amateur and unconvincing, beyond the performances provided by Danny Glover and Tobin Bell, who was born to be Jigsaw, honestly.

Yet, a couple of gory scenes are a bit damaged by the improper camera movements and they would have been highly more effective if filmed in a more static way.

Overall, Saw is quite a cult, a film able to combine the expectation of soft and hard core horror fans altogether, filled with interesting ideas and seeds typical of a well-done thriller, featuring an astounding plot twist. For those of you who have not check it out yet, go see it now. Cheers!

The female horror anthology. “XX” – review

XX is a 2017 horror anthology directed and written by and starring only female directors and actresses. It’s a quite nice concept, resembling the success of the VHS and ABCs of Death franchises.

It features four different stories, linked to each other by a stop-motion-animated segments depicting a walking dollhouse directed by Sofia Carrillo. To begin with, these segments have nothing to do with the plots of the other shorts, beyond being completely pointless.

Back to the stories, each one of them has a short runtime, which goes from 22 minutes (for the first one) to the 14 minutes of The Birthday Party.

lqdwpubok5oannq207hsdohktpnThe Box, written and directed by Jovanka Vuckovic and starring Natalie Brown, is the starting point and it features a family dealing with the lack of hunger of their son, which began when he gave a quick glimpse to a mysterious box carried on the tube by a creepy dude. After being checked unsuccessfully by a doctor, the son starts to secretly explain to the other family members why he stopped eating and, with no further reasons, everybody gets along with him, apart from the mother. Without spoiling the ending, the plot and its execution are quite poorly made in my opinion, with Natalie Brown’s performance and the good production values as the only redeeming qualities.

maxresdefaultUnfortunately, The Box is also the only watchable sketch out of the four. The Birthday Party, written and directed by Annie Clark and starring Melanie Lynskey, tells the story of a woman who, at her daughter’s birthday, finds out the death body of her husband and decides not to tell anyone because she doesn’t want to disappoint her family and friends. Although the author’s will of providing a black-comedy vibe is clear, this segment looks cheesy and meaningless, and it features a worthless cinematography and even worst acting. It has no scary moments nor unsettling ones whatsoever.

XX - Still 2Don’t Fall is the third segment, a creature-feature short written and directed by Roxanne Benjamin that stars Breeda Wool. Basically it consists of a rip-off from the already lame Primal (2010), telling the story of four friends who go climbing, find some creepy cave-paintings and one of them turns into a monster-like creature and starts to tear the others apart. This one is simply laughable: there isn’t a single moment of tension, the practical effects look like they belong to a movie you should find on the Sci-fi channel at 2am, the acting is bland and the all look and feel is just cheesy.

Her only living son, written and directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Christina Kirk, revolves around a mother who basically gave birth to her son after an agreement with the devil. The son, who’s now 18 years old, starts to change physically and psychologically, because the devil claims his soul. Despite the synopsis sounds quite lazy and silly, this was the segment with most potential, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, beyond a general decent level of acting, it falls short because of the poor execution and the too brief runtime.

Sure enough, the short runtime is what kills this product. I strongly believe that it is nearly impossible to realise a decent story within such a brief runtime. Although, Lights Out (the YouTube short, not the movie) has been able to go under many people skin, thanks to its tone and creepiness.

On the other hand, the fact that this 80-minute-long movie is split in four different segments saves it from being completely unwatchable. Another aspect the directors should be praised for is the lack of jump-scares, except for a small one in Don’t Fall.

Other than that, XX is a disposable, little interesting product, where the execution makes the good concept behind it fail. I don’t recommend to see this one guys, but if you are bored and have 80 minutes to waste, give it a chance, it can’t harm. Cheers!

Top underrated horror ‘gems’ – #9 Cube

*Read my previous articles of the list to check out the general premise*

Cube (1997) is directed by Vincenzo Natali, a Canadian director with a clear Italian background. Cube was his debut feature movie, which conquered the general appreciation of critics and public.

Nevertheless, the film has been quickly forgotten by the viewers, even though it’s probably the inspiration for the famous Saw franchise. Or probably because Saw itself stole the stage.

Either ways, the plot consists of a small group of people locked up into an absurd structure with apparently no purpose whatsoever. Their goal is that to find a way out from that gigantic framework composed by smaller cubes of different colours, everyone consisting of different traps.

With a runtime of less than 90 minutes, this movie is a fast ride through tension, paranoia and arguments between the characters.

About them, what is immediately clear to the viewer is that their chemistry works perfectly throughout the film. In particular, the performances of David Hewlett – Worth – and Andrew Miller – the autistic guy named Kazan – definitely steal the show. The other guys, honestly, do just fine, but as I said their interaction is able to elevate the single, individual acting.

The only character I didn’t buy – not even for a minute – was Holloway, whose reactions are exaggerated by Nicky Guadagni, who didn’t keep up with the other cast members.

Beyond the protagonists’ interaction, what I do love about this movie is the sense of uncertainty developed step by step, cube by cube. The dark and paranoiac atmosphere surrounds every moment of Cube giving strength and solid base to all the theories the characters are raising to explain – first to themselves – what the hell is going on.

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Moreover, both the camera work and the photography are awesome and fully spot on. They are able to exploit all the anxiety and tension of the characters, even without being ground-breaking, but utilising the colours in a very mature and compelling way.

Another thing I really like about the Cube is the mathematical aspect of it. According to Wikipedia and other – more reliable – sources, “the fictional Cube device in the film was conceived by David W. Pravica, a notable mathematician. It consists of an outer cubical shell (the sarcophagus) and the inner cube”. All the digits mentioned in the movie are so indubitably correct.

Furthermore, only one cube, measuring 14 by 14 by 14 feet, was actually built, with only one working door that could actually support the weight of the actors. The colour of the room was changed by sliding panels.

Not being a mathematician myself – and actually hating math – I still appreciate all the effort and the precision that the director and his crew put in the making process of the film. To me, the practical effects and the accuracy behind Cube make it hold up quite well 20 years after it first came out.

On the contrary, the two or three scenes built on the special effects look kind of lame and unbelievable nowadays.

For all these reasons, and also for the open ending, for all the mystery and the thrilling sequences I think Cube should have a better consideration among the horror fans.

I mean, I like the first installment of the Saw franchise. As much as I hate all the money-grabbing sequels. It is genuinely unsettling and the plot twist is totally unexpected. Still, since Cube is basically the Saw of the 90s, I think it should be watched as the cult movie it is indeed.

All in all, I’m a fan of Cube. As many times as I re-watch it, it’s always the same good movie as it was the first time I’ve seen it. If you guys are fan of psychological, claustrophobic thrillers, this film is strongly recommended. If you like the first Saw movie, go watch the film that gave James Wan the inspiration. Cheers.