Six strangers each accept the delivery of an unusual black box. Inside the puzzling black box, they find an exclusive invitation to be part of an “Escape Room” but… an Escape Room like they have never seen before. There is also a prize of $10,000 to the winner who can escape and solve the riddles. If you have ever done an Escape Room (and I have), you can instantly relate to this film, but this time it is very different than what one may expect. Even if you haven’t done a typical Escape Room, not to worry, our film does explain how they usually work.
One aspect I loved about this film is the plot and concept. On paper, the idea alone is rather creative, and my journey to see this in a cinema was simply seeking something different (or something with Finesse!). When viewing the movie trailer, it reminded me of other films that I had seen previously seen (such as the Saw franchise) but looked as though it had something new to offer. Escape Room does deliver plenty of creativity with a few random surprises around each corner. As our characters try to continue forward and escape, they soon discover this game is a matter of life and death. Despite this, the first scene alone does giveaway too much, but I was also thankful that our film got going right away and doesn’t waste time getting to the main elements of the film.
Our characters, on the other hand, are a mixture of young and mature adults which I feel cinema audiences will have no desire to cheer on or support. There are many moments where the scripting and dialogue of the character was nothing new, and I found it to be rather disappointing and cheesy. Even during a life-risking moment, we still have our characters making classic one-liners for attempted humour. It’s moments like these that take away any tension the film was intending to deliver. Also, if a character dies, it sadly doesn’t carry much care factor. If anything, due to wisecracking jokes or general cheesy dialogue, it makes the situation more predictable instead of delivering any real surprises, unlike the creativity that is seen in the Escape Room itself.
For those who are not a fan of blood and gore, you’re in luck. This film contains very little to no gore, making this film able to reach a wider audiences (such as younger teenagers). Despite the characters, some fun can be had. I enjoyed seeing each of the rooms as our leads advanced, and I give full credit to the film’s set designers for being creative here. But elements of the story and character did struggle, including the film’s ending which I found to be incredibly messy, as if the director had ended up just choosing a finish that had the possible lure of making this film the start of a new franchise. Given the ticket sales for this film so far, I’d say it wouldn’t surprise me if we do to see another instalment shortly.
Overall, Escape Room is a fantastic idea for a film, and I feel many will have an attraction and curiosity to see this. While the concept and look of the Escape Room itself is fun and awesome to see, our key characters sadly don’t deliver the same pleasure or enjoyment. The film’s ending felt disappointing and somewhat mucky as if the primary goal from the director was to turn this film into a new franchise rather than delivering a more rewarding finish to this story.
Escape Room (2019) is Out Now on Blu-ray & DVD!
The People Upstairs (2020) is Available in Cinemas from Febuary 11th!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden