Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ernie Barbarash|
|Written by||Ernie Barbarash|
|Music by||Norman Orenstein|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Entertainment|
|October 15, 2004|
Even though the first two films take place almost entirely within the maze, Cube Zero takes place in both the interior and exterior of the cube, as well as the aftermath. The film also reverts to the industrial-designed, colored rooms of the first film, but with a refreshed and redesigned set.
Reviews have been positive, claiming a more dramatic, and thrilling film in the series, but significantly less than Cube.
The film starts with a man, Ryjkin, trying to escape from the Cube. He enters a room and is sprayed with liquid that he thinks is only water. However, when he rubs the back of his hand due to itchiness, his flesh liquifies and falls off. This soon happens all over his body, as he then melts on the floor and dies as a result.
A man named Eric is watching a video feed of this in an observation room with a co-worker named Dodd. Afterwards, Eric is shown to be sketching a portrait of Dodd in the form of a superhero called Chessman, while playing chess with him at the same time. Dodd has the chess board in front of him, but Eric is at another table, simply drawing and naming his moves. Eric seems to be vastly intelligent, calculating all of Dodd's moves. After Eric wins, he asks Dodd questions about their missing colleagues. Dodd tells him not to ask too many questions or get involved with the occupants of the Cube because it wouldn't make "those upstairs" happy.
Both Eric and Dodd get an order from "upstairs" that asks them to record the dream of a subject, Cassandra Rains. In her dream, Eric sees that she was captured while walking in a pleasant forest with her daughter named Anna. After waking from sleep, Cassandra meets the other occupants of the Cube. One of the men, Robert Haskell, has a tattoo on his forehead like the soldier who captured Cassandra. However, Haskell, like everyone else, has no recollection of his former life or how he got there - he only knows his name. According to what Eric and Dodd know, everyone in the Cube faced a death sentence and was presented with a choice: Go into the Cube with their memory completely erased, or take the death sentence. For this process, a unique consent form must be signed for someone to be placed in the Cube. Eric discovers that there is no consent form in Cassandra's file and argues with Dodd that they should inform the people "upstairs" about this. Meanwhile, Eric and Dodd get "lunch", in the form of a flavored pill, from "upstairs" via the elevator.
Just when Eric is about to make a call to the superiors, the phone rings. They are instructed to perform the "exit procedure" for a subject who has reached one of the exits of the Cube; one of their former colleagues, Owen. During the exit procedure, Owen is asked if he remembers his name, which he answers correctly. Owen is then asked if he believes in God, to which he says no, which prompts Eric to press the "no" button, which immediately incinerates Owen. Eric argues with Dodd over the fate of Owen, on which he says that he said "no", and that no one said yes. Eric realizes that the Cube is inhumane and that those "upstairs" are planning to place people in the Cube randomly without consent. He decides to enter the Cube to help Cassandra escape it. He distracts Dodd and enters the elevator, which contain only three buttons: "UP", to the "upstairs" room; "MIDDLE", pointing to their office; and "DOWN", to one of the entrances into the Cube, to which he selects.
Jax, one of the Cube's supervisors who monitors the employees, and two of his analysts arrive from "upstairs" to stop Eric from helping Cassandra, but despite their efforts to stop them, Eric and Cassandra make it to the exit room with the help of Dodd, who sabotages the control panels servicing the Cube. He then swallows the main power coupler for the cameras inside the Cube in an act of defiance. Jax paralyzes him and guts him open alive, retrieving the coupler. The sabotage incapacitates the Cube, causing every trap to shut down like Eric planned. He informs Cassandra that they only have 10 minutes to escape before the Cube enters "Reset Mode," which sterilizes the rooms by vaporizing what's and who's inside.
Once Eric and Cassandra reach an "exit room," Haskell catches them. They escape using a secret auxiliary exit just as the Cube enters "Reset Mode," which vaporizes Haskell. They escape into a lake and end up in a forest; however, soldiers searching for them have already arrived. Cassandra manages to escape, but Eric is shot by a dart and passes out.
Eric wakes up in a surgery room and confronts Jax, who reveals that Cassandra may have gotten away. He claims that Eric has been found guilty of "high treason" and "sabotage" against "country and God", and also tells him that "your sentence has been extended for two more lifetimes". Jax claims Eric has already been convicted in a trial and shows him his consent form, saying he agreed to become a test subject many years ago but does not remember. Against his will, his brain is surgically altered, as Eric dreams about Cassandra reuniting with her daughter and praising Eric as a superhero. Eric is then lobotomized and put back in the Cube. After his brain was altered, Eric was left in a mentally handicap state repeatedly mentioning the color of the room and with a noticeable twitch in his right hand. He is found by new captives of the Cube who remark on how he could have possibly survived, mirroring Kazan's initial appearance in the first film, hinting that he and Kazan may be the same person.
- Zachary Bennett as Eric Wynn, a Cube technician.
- David Huband as Dodd, a Cube technician.
- Stephanie Moore as Cassandra Rains, a political demonstrator trapped in the Cube.
- Martin Roach as Robert P. Haskell, a soldier employed to take people to the Cube.
- Michael Riley as Jax, a higher ranking supervisor.
- Mike "Nug" Nahrgang as Meyerhold, a man trapped in the Cube.
- Terri Hawkes as Jellico, a woman trapped in the Cube.
- Richard McMillan as Bartok, a man trapped in the Cube.
- Tony Munch as Owen, a cube technician placed in the Cube.
- Jasmin Geljo as Ryjkin, a man trapped in the Cube.
- Joshua Peace as Finn.
- Diego Klattenhoff as Quigley.
- Alexia Filippeos as Anna.
- Sandy Ross as Chandler.
- Dino Bellisario as Smith.
- Ashley James as McCaw.
- Fernando Cursione as Male Doctor.
- Araxi Arslanian as Female Doctor.
The Cube itself is very much like the one from the original film: it has an industrial design like the first one, although the colors are less pronounced. The door opening mechanism is slightly different: in the first movie, it featured a small lock which was to be rotated diagonally until the doors are pulled, which slide away to give space to enter the hatch. In here, the lock only has to be turned 45 degrees to the right, which will open the door. The Cube is roughly the same size as the original one: it also consists of 17,576 rooms; however, unlike the second Cube, which featured Cartesian coordinates to determine the location of the rooms, this Cube featured a lettering system of the English alphabet, with the letters indicating the position of the rooms. The rooms also move in other positions: however, when a room realigns itself to its original position, it "erases" the data or simply pours acid on the letters. The Cube features three exits: A service exit operated by an elevator, where they presumably place prisoners within the Cube, the "official" exit, where there is an "Exit procedure", and a secret, auxiliary exit, which enters a lake to the outside landscape.
The Cube also shows exterior: there is a techinicans' quarters, inhabited by Cube technicians who operate the Cube and manage it, consisting of junior and senior technicians. They monitor the subjects and record their progress. When a subject reaches the "official" exit, two technicians have to monitor the "Exit procedure", where they have to bring a device to the station designed for Exit procedures: in there, they ask the subject his name and does he/she believe in God. If they state that they don't believe in Him, they are incinerated. The technicians also live there and are forced to obey the orders: failure to comply with orders, attempt to help the prisoners or any other acts of defiance result in them having their memory erased and inserted into the Cube (however, one technician was punished more severely by being lobotomized as well).
The Cube itself appears to be operated by an unknown, possibly American, theological totalitarian government. All of the prisoners inside the Cube are convicted prisoners set on death row: they chose the Cube as an alternative for administering the death sentence. However, it was noted that one of them didn't have the consent form, suggesting that the government was placing political prisoners inside the Cube. However, more than that wasn't revealed. With the technicians, there are also senior supervisors who are sent to the technicians' quarters in case one of them rebels: the supervisor is usually accompanied by his agents, wearing special kinetic gloves on their hands which allow them to override the Cube's access to locate the mutinied technician. It is shown that the Cube's personnel also has their own military: soldiers that have uploaded programmable biochips inside themselves to force them into obedience, and are easily identifiable with their tattoo on their forehead.
The Cube features futuristic gear: For instance, each room is equipped with a floor claw that has a mounted laser, which can scan brain waves during a REM cycle and record dreams, displaying them in video to the technicians. Although rooms periodically move in a pattern, senior supervisors can override the pattern and place rooms in a specific position. All rooms, even those which are generally safe, contain a floor-built syringe that is activated by command, injecting a flesh-eating virus to kill the desired target.
Rooms, at command, can also electrify to kill the occupants. In case of a power failure, the Cube goes into reset mode for 10 minutes. After the clock passes, all rooms realign into their original positions, starting a 30-second countdown after which the Cube performs a "clean sweep"; flash Incineration that vaporizes all Cube occupants.
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Professional reviews have been mostly positive, garnering reviews from JoBlo.com, AMC's Movie Guide, DVD Talk, and Bloody Disgusting, with Bloody Disgusting saying that "'Cube: Zero' isn't the best of the series, but it comes close."
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