Jungle
Escape Room

Escape Room

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Jan 04, 2019
Grade:
C-
Running Time: 
109 minutes

Six strangers are put in a series of rooms together where they must use their wits to escape or suffer death. Escape Room sounds like the next entry in the Saw franchise, but it’s not, as much as it might like to be. The film takes advantage of society’s latest fad, escape rooms, but any originality it had going into the first room quickly wears thin as the film progresses. By the end, I was hoping it really was a Saw film because at least that would have made it more interesting. Instead it ends up being just another typical January horror film to welcome in the new year.

 

Zoey (Taylor Russell), Ben (Logan Miller), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), Mike (Tyler Labine), Jason (Jay Ellis), and Danny (Nik Dodani) are all invited to participate in what’s being called the most difficult escape room game ever where if you manage to solve all the puzzles and escape you win $10,000. But after the first room tries to cook them in a giant oven, they soon realize that it’s not a game, and that they’re playing for their lives. Furthermore, they aren’t just some random group of participants as each deadly room has been tailored to each of them. Someone behind the scenes is pulling all the strings, and their reasoning is the biggest puzzle of all.

 

The best and most interesting thing about Escape Room are the rooms and puzzles themselves, at least initially. The first couple of rooms are great, incorporating well designed puzzles with deadly traps that build tension. The acting and dialogue are about what you would expect from a B movie horror film, but at least the puzzles are entertaining. Unfortunately, the creativity wears off after the third room when the film focuses more on the backstory of the characters.

 

Escape Room loses steam as they move from room to room, with the overall payoff as to why these people are brought together to survive a game that’s trying to kill them being rather lackluster. The film also opens with one of the main characters trying to solve a room and then cuts back to the beginning to show you how they got to that situation. It’s a terrible technique that eliminates most of the suspense because before the movie even starts you pretty much already know who is going to die and who is going to survive. You just don’t know the how to it all.

 

Despite a strong start, Escape Room can’t escape the tiresome tropes of the horror genre, falling back to old tricks that never fully pay off. A mix of Saw meets Cube, the film struggles to innovate and delivers a story that’s hardly worth going to the theaters for and more likely to be found in the bargain bin at Walmart.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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