The original 1997 flick “Cube” remains one of the most inventive sci-fi thrillers of the 90’s, and a testament to how with a clever bare bones thriller script combined with a single and regularly redressed set you can create a flick which whilst certainly has its share of problems it still struck one as a very original effort done on a budget 1/20th the size of most horror films. Natali’s dark multi-coloured rooms, gory yet inventive death methods, and the film’s ambiguous nature which left many questions unanswered is still eminently watchable. Its sequel however is not.
“Hypercube” joins the likes of “The Arrival II” as a poor follow up to an easily superior progenitor even if in this case the budget is bigger and the scale larger. Whereas “Cube” had an atmosphere of tension and its numerous trap creations headed more towards the horror genre, Cube 2 goes for a more Twilight Zone-esque sci-fi feel. The basic setup is the same – random strangers must work together to escape the multi-roomed complex (this time its all one rather hideously bright white colour) in which lies various deadly creations from the minds of mathematical and quantum physicist geniuses.
The budget is obviously higher as there’s a big reliance on CG effects here, whilst the theory and talk of hypercubes is even more elaborate and the doors are more streamlined. Sadly what’s missing is tension – without the ‘traps’ elements, the shifting from room to room is now no longer the source of any excitement. The characters are much plainer with not particularly strong performances (with the exception of lead actress Kari Matchett), and all the attempts to expand on the backstory of the first film fail pretty badly with the exception of the surprise ending which is admittedly better than I expected. Production design, score, etc. are all much weaker and it shows you that money isn’t everything when it comes to creativity.