We associate escape rooms with funhouses and ideal places to go for nights out with friends.
However, this film will make you reconsider your view on escape rooms. The producer of the
Insidious franchise brings a twist to the puzzle horror concept puzzles – but how well does he
execute that concept?
Physics student Zoey (Taylor Russell) receives a mysterious puzzle box from an unknown person. She is invited to an escape room, where she meets five more contestants in a huge room. After Zoey accidentally presses a switch, the room begins to slowly boil the characters alive. This is no ordinary escape room. To survive and win $10,000, they must solve the puzzles in each room. But it is not that simple; they face a variety of challenges, from a gas chamber to an inverted room. Death is ready to snatch the characters away, one by one.
The story is not your ordinary horror film; instead of the haunted house, we have the escape room. Gone are the jump scares and gratuitous gore, now replaced with nail-biting puzzles and a secretive conspiracy. Its plot and ambiguous ending leave you longing for more. However, the big bad is never properly revealed, which makes them more mysterious and threatening. The prospect of the villain being someone the protagonists know, or love, is pure nightmare fuel.
The film’s minor pitfall is the characterisation. All the characters start off as stock types, pigeonholed by their stereotypes. With the intriguing story, the screenwriters had potential to create original characters. Nevertheless, the characters’ backstories make up for their lazy representations; coincidentally, each character has experienced a life- threatening disaster. Each character gets an adequate amount of screen time for you to know which characters to love or despise; the beginning is dedicated to showing the main characters live out their daily lives for the final time.
Moreover, the actors’ impressive performances overcome the shoddy characterisation. Nik Dodani
does a terrific job at portraying the annoying geek, Danny. True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll is the movie’s highlight: her performance as the shell-shocked army veteran, Amanda, will leave you rooting for her. Its stunning camerawork is one of the movie’s saving graces. This film experiments with unique camera shots, which makes viewing the film more exhilarating. From the upturned bar to the psychedelic lights in the penultimate room, you will feel like you are taking part in this game with the characters.
With its puzzles and huge cliffhanger, Escape Room is more intriguing than a Rubik’s Cube. The film lives up to its expectations; many mysteries are left unresolved, leaving you pondering the characters’ fates at the end of the film. But with a few lacklustre characters, you’ll find yourself not cheering for all the contestants. If you are into psychological thrillers, this film will keep you on the edge of your seat.