Stepping into the cinema to see Escape Room, I definitely had some preconceived notions; I was expecting maybe a lighter version of Saw meets 1997’s Cube – Quite frankly I was also expecting to be disappointed, because after seeing the trailer for the first time a few weeks ago, I could not look past this movie just being a cash-in on the current escape room craze.
…Was I right though? In part yes, but for the majority of this film, I actually had a really good time. The plot is centred around six completely different strangers who are brought together to try to battle their way out of a multitude of deadly escape rooms… Although the story telling here is simple it’s also quite effective. I was surprised to find myself so invested in watching these characters try to solve puzzles to move on to the next part of the game – The film does a great job at capturing the tension and the desperation of almost every scene, making this an absolute thrill ride at times.
The acting is good enough for a script like this; nobody will be looking at Escape Room for Oscar nominations, but for what it is, the cast play their roles well. There are also no star names here, the only one I recognised was Deborah Ann Woll who is best known for her role as Karen Page in Netflix’s Daredevil series, and she easily played the most interesting character out of the bunch doing a fantastic job at playing a veteran suffering from PTSD. To be fair I enjoyed almost every one of these characters, Nik Dodani does a great job at playing a nerdy escape room expert who I wish had played a bigger role; Jay Ellis is great in the role of cocky rich business man, as is Logan Miller at playing the role of a stereotypical stoner kid – Taylor Russell rounds out this odd bunch playing a young quiet and intelligent college student, and is great in the lead role here. None of these characters are overly complex or deep, but for a film like this they really don’t need to be.
Unfortunately there are a few moments where this movie falls apart and the first one actually comes in Escape Room’s opening scene. For reasons I cannot comprehend, the film makers decide to open things by showing us clips from one of the final scenes. I am not sure what they were trying to achieve here, but it meant that all the good work they do later on in the film in creating good tension is undermined by the fact the audience is always aware of how it all ends.
The biggest misstep for me though was the ending – Throughout Escape Room I had been pleasantly surprised, and although there had been a few rough moments, I had mostly enjoyed myself; all they had to do was nail the landing… Instead this film crashes and burns in spectacular fashion! The first twist in the ending is so predictable that it becomes almost laughable, and by the end of this drawn out ending I actually found myself sat in the cinema chuckling away to myself at how daft and silly the story became.
I really did not expect to enjoy Escape Room as much as I did. The story is fun and well executed, and features a cast that do a great job at carrying this fun Saw-lite adventure. Despite a more than questionable opening scene that undermines everything going forward, the movie still manages to do an amazing job at building tension throughout and had me glued to the screen as I watched this odd bunch try to find their way out of these creative escape rooms, by solving puzzles and completing deadly tasks. It’s just a shame that a lot of that good work is thrown away due to a terrible ending that resembled more of a comedy than a thriller. With that being said I still think that it’s a film that is worth your time, and despite its downfalls, is still a fun flick.
I give Escape Room: