Bragi F Schut and Maria Melnik
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jay Ellis, Yorick van Wageningen
Budget $9M Box Office $155.7M
IMDb 6.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 49% Metacritic 48/100
Okay, so, the whole premise of this film got me from the beginning because I have always been fascinated by the idea of an escape room. Not that I am convinced I could get out myself but, with a certain select group of friends, it would be interesting to try. However, this is a film that might make you think twice about signing up for such an entertainment activity.
Now, if you don’t know, (and honestly the only way you couldn’t know is if you are say, over the age of 80, under the age of 7 OR you’ve been living in a cave being raised by wolves and have no idea what lengths human beings will go to for entertainment, to prove their intellect and for a good adrenaline rush) an escape room is a form of a puzzle room. People sign up and pay sometimes a good sum of money to get locked in a room that presents a hypothetical danger and they must find the clues hidden within the room to piece together the final answer to unlock the door. (If you hate logic games, puzzle games or anything like that, even hidden object games, you probably wouldn’t like or do well in an escape room.)
However, if you like watching people freak out, turn on each other, bond together, logic puzzles, human behavior, killer graphics and movies that give you an edge of your seat suspense feeling with an adrenaline rush kind of feel…then you’ll probably dig this film.
In Escape Room, six people are given invitations to participate in a highly coveted, top-rated Escape Room challenge. IF any of them can be the first to escape, they will win a prize of $10,000. Sounds pretty enticing huh? I mean, it’s just a game, right? Like a haunted house. What could go wrong?
The mix of participants is interesting. We find that among them is a very successful money manager/stock broker type guy. His invitation was a gift from a client for instance. Then, there’s an incredibly intelligent, genius-level intelligent, but, wickedly shy and closed in college student. She got her invite from one of her professors. Next, we have Ben. Ben comes into work one day at the stockroom to find his invite waiting for him on a stack of the inventory he should be putting away. We have Mike, who is a regular guy who drives a truck for a living and we have Amanda, who is an Iraq War Veteran. Last but certainly not least, we have Danny. Danny is an escape room fanatic and has done pretty much every single one in the area…and more. It’s funny to see all six of them sitting in the waiting room looking at each other trying not to look at each other. (I mean, this movie was made this year and that is a perfect example of human behavior. Why is eye contact NOT okay anymore? When I was growing up it was REQUIRED. It’s like people are scared to look at other human beings and make some sort of human connection with them.) Upon entering the main building entrance, they were required to relinquish their phones, otherwise they would have all been looking at a tiny digital screen, pretending to be incredibly absorbed in whatever is on their home screen, homepage or what texts they AREN’T getting at that moment.
So here they are, these six strangers in a waiting room, waiting for the “game” to begin. The only problem is, it already has. They don’t know it but once they all got there and that door closed, the game was on. Now, a lot of escape rooms can be just one room, ya know, like a beginner level. Then there are ones out there that have many rooms with many puzzles that you have to get through. THIS one these people are in…has multiple rooms. BUT, they aren’t just regular rooms.
A LOT of money has been put into this game. A LOT. Who knows who’s backing this sort of thing? Some sicko millionaire? The government? Foreign enemy forces? Some whacked out scientist? I mean, when you think of the things ACTUAL people have done in REAL LIFE for entertainment, the possibilities for the mastermind villain in this movie are endless.
I did enjoy this movie. And since it IS so new, I am not going to tell you a whole lot about it. I will say that I think it was made well. I liked the actors. I think they portrayed their characters particularly well. And the special effects and graphics, very cool. Very well done.
I have to admit there were many times I was surprised and impressed with the way they were able to bring things to life on screen. And whoever came up with the puzzle ideas, they’re good. This guy, gal, people, whoever, talk about some creative work.
One of the best things about this film is that not all of the normal horror movie rules apply.
One of the not so great things about it frankly, was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. But, to me, incomplete. It makes me wonder if they are leaving it open for a sequel, a franchise perhaps. But then again, it could have been that they got to the ending and just had a hard time closing it down. That happens so often with horror movies. So many times, we expect that climactic ending like we got in Friday the 13th, an ending that shocks and scares, that final heart-stopper, that final scream. And so many times we are let down. I’ll let you decide for yourself if you feel like the ending was befitting the rest of the film.