ESCAPE ROOM movie review
ESCAPE ROOM mixes bits of HELLRAISER, SAW, and THE RUNNING MAN in an attempt to make something new using something familiar.
Six strangers from different walks of life (a college bookworm, grocery store stock boy, trucker, investment banker, nerd, military vet) are each given mysterious puzzle boxes. Eventually they solve the puzzle boxes unlocking an invite to an escape room. If one of them is able to be the first person to ever escape this escape room they’ll win $10,000. Once they get there they realize that it’s actually a series of escape rooms and that the rooms are all rigged with deadly traps.
There are definitely some familiar aspects to this film. The puzzle boxes seem to be a nod to HELLRAISER. The six mysterious strangers with seemingly no connection (until explained later) appear to be borrowed from the SAW franchise. The deadly room puzzles also seem to be borrowed from SAW. In a lot of ways this film seems to be a toned down, almost kid friendly, PG 13 version of SAW. Unlike SAW however, there is no good central villain. There are also some voyeuristic aspects of THE RUNNING MAN in this film as well. These things combine to make an ok movie. It’s not a classic but it’s far from terrible.
Some of the escape room solutions are pretty easy to figure out as you’re watching while some of the others don’t seem to make much sense at all. Some odd logic faults can be found in the film as well, like when the characters are complaining about the freezing cold conditions they’re in yet the only character with a hoodie doesn’t zip it up even though he’s complaining about the cold as well. There is also a point in the film where it becomes obvious that every time a modem/fax machine noise comes from an old LAN line telephone something bad happens yet no one ever comes to the conclusion that they should hang up the phone.
Considering that this is a horror movie, you have to look past those issues. You also have to consider the time of year that this film is being released. This is a decent movie for the after holidays period which is essentially the dumping ground of the movie studios. Between now and the Oscars we will see countless films that the studios don’t have much faith in so the standards are a bit lower this time of year. Anytime after the holidays that you can find a film with some semblance of plot and isn’t a complete steaming pile you have to be somewhat happy.
The ending of the film isn’t completely satisfying but not completely screwed up either, much like the film itself. It teases a possible sequel and the bigger plot that could follow if that film comes to fruition. Considering how cheaply this film was made, supposedly just 9 million, it shouldn’t be hard to recoup that at the box office and make a profit which means there probably is a decent shot of the studio green lighting a second film which there is rumored to already be early talk of.
There is no after credit scene so don’t bother waiting for that.
Overall this isn’t a terrible movie. It’s not great but there are far worse movies. You can definitely find scarier and bloodier films on Netflix but ESCAPE ROOM could be a fun date film. You might also be able to make the movie a little more fun by making some kind of drinking game out of solving the puzzles.
3 out of 5 stars.