Movie Review: Escape Room

credit@Wynnesworld

Do you know anyone that’s into solving riddles and possibly engaging in escape room activities? They may or may not love this movie, simply titled Escape Room, but they might find parts of it that they enjoy. After all, the main point of an escape room is to get out, which means that the challenges will be tough but not impossible to figure out. In this movie, though, each challenge is literally capable of ending the participants. In some cases, the methods used are exceedingly brutal or diabolical in a way that makes predicting the end of each individual less than satisfying in some critical ways. In other words, even if you can pinpoint who’s going to die at any given moment, you might not want to since how this is bound to happen is enough to make a person feel slightly guilty for guessing. But in terms of being decent to a fascinating movie, Escape Room does offer up a few chills and thrills that are enough to keep a person watching. 

credit@EscapeRoom

The overall experience is something that escape room veterans might feel one way or another about. 

It’s easy to understand how anyone that has participated in an escape room activity might look at this movie askance and wonder about how it was created and how accurate it is. Remember that since it’s a movie, it’s bound to be far more brutal regarding the participants and how they’re dealt with. From the moment each guest is given a black puzzle box to the moment they show up in the same meeting room, the movie gives at least a little bit of an idea of who these people are without giving away too much. The initial room they find themselves in feels rather stark, a little cold, and most definitely suspect. The cold aspect fades rather quickly as the inadvertent action of the smoker among the group cranks up the heat as massive heating panels are revealed and eventually begin to heat up the room. The direction things go from there gets even more brutal. 

This movie might not make as much sense if a person has never participated in an escape room. 

It’s easy to figure a few things out, but trying to put yourself in this movie and the participants’ position might be a different matter. The first room, which was fit to immolate someone if the participants didn’t manage to escape in time, was bad enough. But moving from immolation to a frozen forest that appears to have only one exit and no obvious clue to help the six participants out. But again, with an escape room, there’s always a way out since this is the design. The trick is that one can almost guess things will get worse and that one or more participants cannot move on. In this particular group, it’s not hard to figure out who has the best chance to die since the escape room veteran is one of the most annoying characters in the movie.  

credit@RogerEbert

 

Each character feels like they have something in common, but it still surprises them. 

The natural assumption is that any group of people brought together has something in common regarding any type of movie. Some movies stand out as the exception, but Escape Room is not one of them. The audience is even given a cue here and there as they realize little by little that various clues that are set within each room have a special meaning to each individual. As the group moves from room to room, they continue to find clues that paint a dim but important picture of their personal backstories, and the audience becomes clued to the idea that they were brought together for a reason. When that reason is revealed, though, it feels a bit contrived, even if it makes some sense. When it’s revealed that they’re all survivors, it becomes even clearer why they were selected and why it’s easier to feel something for a few of them and next to nothing for others. 

As a thriller, it’s a fun movie. 

All in all, this movie isn’t horrible, and it’s a lot of fun since there are moments when one can pinpoint which character is about to die, but with the others, it’s tough to guess. As one of the many movies that deals with traps that require a bit of critical thinking, it does come across as a fascinating tale. It’s the type of movie that could start a franchise, but one hopes it won’t. 

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