Cubeis a 1997 Canadian science fiction psychological thriller / horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali . The film was a successful product of the Canadian Film Centre 's First Feature Project.
Much of the film's appeal lies in its surreal, Kafkaesque settings; no extensive attempt is made to explain what the cube is that the characters are confined in, why it is created, or how the people were selected to be put inside the cube. Although the world "outside" is referred to, it is presented in an extremely abstract fashion, either a dark void or a bright white light.
Alderson ( Julian Richings ) wakes up in a cube-shaped room with six hatch doors; one at the center of each wall, one on the ceiling, and one on the floor. He begins to open doors and examine each, to find rooms that differ from the one he is in only by color. Alderson goes into an amber colored room and suddenly gets cut into large cubes. It is then shown that a large metal grate had dropped down and killed him. It then folds up into the ceiling.
In another room, Quentin ( Maurice Dean Wint ), Worth ( David Hewlett ), Holloway ( Nicky Guadagni ), Rennes ( Wayne Robson ), and Leaven ( Nicole deBoer ) meet. None of them know where they are, how they got there, or why they are there, so they decide to try to find a way out together. Rennes already knows that some of the rooms contain traps. He initially assumes that the rooms contain motion detectors , so he tests each room by throwing a boot into it before getting in.
As they progress, Leaven notices a series of numbers in the hatchways between the rooms. Soon after, Rennes jumps into a room previously tested with a boot but he is sprayed in the face with acid and is killed. The group decides that the room must have contained an electrochemical sensor that Rennes missed, and realizes that they must find a better way of testing the rooms.
Quentin asks everyone about their backgrounds, and comes to the conclusion that nothing is a coincidence, and each of them has a purpose in the Cube. Leaven reveals herself to excel at mathematics , and after looking at the numbers on a crawl space , she theorizes, using inductive reasoning , that when none of those numbers are prime , the room is safe. Leaven thus makes it her purpose to decipher the Cube's code .
They continue their progress through the Cube, and they eventually find a seventh person, Kazan ( Andrew Miller ). He is mentally challenged, but Holloway insists that they bring him along.
The group starts speculating about the nature of the place they're in, and conflict arises between Quentin and Holloway. Quentin dismisses Holloway's ideas as conspiracy theories , and Holloway thinks that Quentin is naïve. Soon after this, Quentin enters a room without prime numbers and narrowly avoids death from a trap consisting of rotating razor wires, disproving Leaven's theory. Quentin begins suspecting Worth is a spy, and becomes increasingly irritated by Kazan's mental state. The group rests, while Leaven re-attempts to decipher the numbers.
Quentin tricks Worth into revealing that he is one of the architects of the enormous cube-shaped shell that contains the cube-shaped rooms. When asked about who contracted him to do the job, he states that he doesn't know. Although the others begin to distrust Worth, he gives them information about the dimensions of the outer cube. Leaven then intuits that the numbers between the rooms could be encoded cartesian coordinates representing the position of rooms within the Cube. Based on this theory, the group starts moving trying for the nearest edge.
The group finally reaches one of the ends of the Cube, seen as an endless black void. They conclude that there is a gap between the door and the outer shell. Fashioning a rope out of their clothes, Holloway volunteers to swing out on the rope to investigate. As she is suspended outside the room, the Cube trembles and Holloway nearly falls. Quentin catches her, but then lets her fall to her death, telling the others that she slipped.
The group decides to rest before setting out again, but as they sleep Quentin carries Leaven into another room. He tries to convince Leaven to abandon the others, and makes sexual advances and becomes abusive when she spurns him. Worth and Kazan awaken and save Leaven. Quentin becomes paranoid, revealing his murder of Holloway, and becomes enraged, beating and then throwing Worth through a door in the floor, which contains the dead body of Rennes. At first, they think that they have been going in circles, but then, noticing that the "acid room" that killed Rennes is no longer adjacent to that room, Worth and Leaven realize that the trembling they felt before must have been the rooms moving, and they assume there must be a "bridge room" that connects the Cube to the outer shell. They also find out that rooms that have traps are marked with numbers that are not simply prime numbers , but prime powers , a much larger set of numbers. The prisoners then face the task of performing prime factorizations of three three-digit numbers for every room they enter. Kazan's purpose is revealed at this point; being an autistic savant , he has the ability to perform these factorizations quickly and easily.
They calculate the position where they could meet the bridge room, and they make their way towards it safely with Kazan's help. The exit turns out to be the same room they started in. Anticipating their escape, Worth devises a plan to incapacitate Quentin, who has gone completely mad. Worth fights Quentin into a room below them, where they leave him to die. The bridge room eventually comes, and when they open its door, bright light shines into the room. Worth announces that he will not go, as there is nothing for him in the world outside. As he and Leaven share a moment, Quentin appears and kills Leaven by stabbing her with a door handle. He also fatally stabs Worth before turning to Kazan, who is already climbing out. With the last of his strength, Worth grabs Quentin's leg, and Quentin is crushed in the crawlspace between the cubes when the rooms shift. Having saved Kazan, Worth lies down next to Leaven and dies. Kazan is then seen walking slowly into the bright light.