Adam Robitel’s latest horror feature is yet another film that takes something that is usually considered to be safe (such as a doll, a Polaroid camera, or in this case, an escape room) and turns it into something the viewer should be afraid of. But is this an experience you’ll want to stay for, or will you want to break out?
A group of six strangers all receive a cryptic mystery box in their mailbox, inviting them all to a business named Mino’s Escape Room, in which they will earn $10,000 if they manage to make it out of the ‘world’s toughest rooms’. Once there, they soon begin to realise that what they at first thought was just an ordinary game is quickly turning into the most dangerous fight of their lives.
Throughout the story, there are several rooms that these individuals have to break out of in order to survive, and for the most part these sequences are all decently entertaining, the strangers having to band together and use their wits to survive. Almost every major puzzle is honestly quite thrilling, but it’s the characters themselves that are Escape Room’s biggest issue. With the exception of lead protagonist Zoey (Russell), each of them are frustratingly annoying in nearly every scene, making it difficult to get behind them. Also, some of the decisions they make will leave you baffled.
The standout sequence here is one that involves an upside-down bar, which genuinely makes you concerned for how these characters are going to make it out of this situation alive. But, as soon as this is over, it all goes downhill, resulting in a final thirty minutes that unfortunately comes across as unintentionally comical and almost impossible to take seriously. They also do some rather questionable things with our characters here.
How everything ultimately ties together in the end though is seriously awful. It was the biggest insult to anybody who genuinely loved the film beforehand, as it shamelessly sets up a sequel that few are likely to want. Though it has moments of true tension and is entertaining in parts, Escape Room’s poor characters and unintentional comedy ultimately make this an adventure not worth going on.
DIRECTOR: ADAM ROBITEL / SCREENPLAY: BRAGI F. SCHUT, MARIA MELNIK / STARRING: DEBORAH ANN WOLL, TAYLOR RUSSELL, TYLER LABINE, LOGAN MILLER / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 1ST