Escape Room review
If there's one rule that Hollywood likes to follow, it's that if something is hip and current, then it's bound to get a horror movie. In today's case, its about escape rooms. I haven't done an escape room, even through I like the concept; your with a group, locked in a room (or rooms in some cases) and you need to solves riddles, clues, and puzzles in order to get out before the time runs out. Not only does it almost make a real life video game, but it’s a genius way to play up suspense where there is none.
The only way one could get genuinely frightened is if the people running the rooms were good enough actors. Escape rooms are another way of illusion, and the trick will only work if they can suspend disbelief that their only playing a game. It's the same idea with video games; even if your rescuing a princess from Super Mario Bros., your really only playing programing on a computer. So the idea of taking an escape room and making it a life or death situation isn't a bad idea. So let's see if Escape Room can develop potential like a cross of The Game and Saw.
In Chicago; we focus on several individuals who all receive puzzle boxes. We have college student Zoey (played by Taylor Russell), a slacker Ben (played by Logan Miller), and a successful business trader Jason (played by Jason Walker). They all solve it and receive invitations to a nearby escape room where it's also revealed that if they solve it, they'll receive $10,000. They arrive, along with former solider Amanda (played by Deborah Ann Woll), former miner Mike (Played by Tyler Labine) and escape room expert Danny (played by Nik Dodani). They all head for a waiting area for the game to start…or so they think.
When one tries to leave, only for the handle to come off with a set of numbers appearing, they realize that the game has already started. Things become dangerous when the room starts to heat up like an oven. When they manage to get out, they find the next room and several others to be just as perilous. In fact, they see some of their fellow players die. The race is on to see if they can solve the clues, find out who is behind this, and why they were chosen to partake in a most dangerous game.
I've said before that I think Escape Room could potentially be a good idea and I even like the angle their taking here. The problem is that the movie is dull and uninspired. Escape Room is another throwaway January release that might play better on streaming platforms, but has little reason for a theatrical release. The first problem is the characters. None of them are memorable or likable enough for care about whether they meet their death solving a puzzle or not. It's hard to tell if they needed better actors or a better script, but I'm betting on the latter, as it has to do with my other problem.
The plot is fine, with the goal of simply getting out. It's the overall setup that really fails, and it's worse as I see what they were trying to do. The rooms are supposed to be themed out of a traumatizing past that each character went through. But it only touches upon their past personalities without much rhyme or reason. A character went through a drunk driving history; so let them solves a riddle and their magically cured. One man killed another in his past; so he'll take a drug and confront it. You can tell the script was rushed in favor of focusing on the thrills.
I'll give this two escape room passes out of five. I give it some credit for it's room design and idea in general. But it's too half-assed and non caring on it's characters for me to recommend. At best, if your looking for some thrills within a puzzle room, you'll get some. But for most, I'd say skip this escape room and go to a spa instead.