What can be more fun than being many indecipherable clues away from freedom, stuck in the company of people who are hindering rather than helping, and your brain hurting with the effort?
Like all puzzles, such a situation is infuriating in direct proportion to your ability to pick up on little details and reach a solution.
Nothing is more satisfying than figuring something out, but how would you perform if the room was also trying to kill you?
This is the Page One Premise of Escape Room and the movie does its best work when letting rip with its killer concept.
Introduce a whole bunch of characters. Stick them in lethal trap rooms. Figure out elaborate puzzles. Death and delight ensues.
Deathtraps are all well and good but if we care nothing for the dispatched victims then the result is just base level voyeurism.
Escape Room does a commendable job of putting the work in so that our doomed gang of thinkers are fleshed out people before running the risk of becoming fleshed off corpses.
Lured with mysterious puzzle cubes received in the mail, six strangers figure out clues that lead them to a nondescript office building with the promise of a large cash sum if they succeed.
Jason (Jay Ellis) is an arrogant big money trader. Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell, Lost in Space) is a quiet and methodical student. Danny (Nik Dodani) is an escape room veteran while Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll) is an actual veteran of the U.S. Army.
Mike Nolan (Tyler Labine) is a burly but cheerful truck driver, and Ben Miller (Logan Miller) is stuck in a dead-end retail job where he isn’t even allowed in front of shop. Once things become inarguably lethal it is the dynamic between these characters that keeps the tension high.
With a good cast to care about in place, Escape Room is a sadistic game that delights in devilish and inventive puzzles that present with a ticking clock of terror.
Be it a room that inexorably heats up to unbearable temperatures, an upside-down bar themed room with a periodically collapsing ‘floor’, or a cosy little study that slowly becomes much more little and much less cosy, Escape Room presents interesting problems and solutions, yet leaves you keen for the next barely survivable scenario.
Such a set-up is pure genre of course. The Saw franchise has shown that it’s possible to endlessly churn out death after death when it comes to clever traps and Escape Room clearly had eyes on future sequels (Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was released in July 2021).
Doing so unfortunately creates a sense that the movie is holding itself back. As the rooms our dwindling cast escape from contain more and more aspects of their personal demons, it is clear that they haven’t been chosen at random to compete.
Exploring the weakness of the six people based on their slowly revealed secrets gives them more flavour, but the logic for doing so is inevitably disappointing.
Is Escape Room Worth Watching?
As the credits roll with vagaries of a big monies conspiracy that could fuel a stream of Escape Room films, the taste left behind is that doing so would bring quickly diminishing returns.
It was the perfectly balanced cast in this movie that glued amusingly nonsensical plot logistics together. Even if the last 10 minutes scramble to secure a springboard for “More Of The Same Please”, Escape Room feels at its most satisfying when having fun with the core concept.
Chuck some interesting people in a clever room. Get clever room to be life-threatening in interesting ways. Have them barely escape with a satisfying use of smarts. And again. And again.
That Escape Room tries to keep a twitching finger in the sequel pie is understandable but that pie is always going to be duller than the imminent bloodbath trying to detach the finger.
Escape Room is a great movie for throwing popcorn at your open mouth and wincing in glee as the action unfolds. Just don’t think too hard about the clean up afterwards.
Words by Mike Record
Is Escape Room On Netflix Scary?
The Escape Room movie is a bit scary but is probably a film more suited to suspense fans.
You do find yourself engrossed, helped along by the endless tension the whole way through.
Unlike normal escape rooms where you win if you escape in an hour, here you win if you just survive.
The goal for our group of characters is to solve puzzles in a deadly game and not die. Which, I suppose is scary!
Cast Of Escape Room Movie
Escape Room was quite successful when it was released in the US in 2019, by Sony Pictures. It grossed over $155 million worldwide at the box office, against a production budget of $9 million, and audiences couldn't get enough of it.
But it takes more than a great writer (Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik) and a solid director (Adam Robitel) to create a winning movie. The cast is also very important.
So, with that in mind, here is the cast of Escape Room.
Taylor Russell as Zoey Davis, a young college student
Logan Miller as Ben Miller, a stockboy at a grocery store
Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda Harper, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD
Tyler Labine as Mike Nolan, a middle-aged truck driver
Nik Dodani as Danny Khan, an experienced escape room enthusiast
Jay Ellis as Jason Walker, a stock trader
Yorick van Wageningen as the Gamemaster
Cornelius Geaney Jr. as Zoey's professor
Jessica Sutton as Allison, Zoey's roommate
Russell Crous as Charlie, Jason's assistant
Bart Fouche as, Ben's boss
Kenneth Fok as Detective Li
Jamie-Lee Money as Rosa, a fake flight attendant who works for Minos
Escape Room 3 Release Date: When Can We Expect Escape Room 3?
There is no official release date for Escape Room 3. The sequel to the first movie, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was originally slated for April 2020.
However, the dates were shuffled to accommodate the closure of theatres around the world. It was eventually released in 2021.
So far there has been no confirmation of Escape Room 3. The sequel underperformed at the box office but there was a cliffhanger and it is a relatively cheap movie to make so Sony Pictures may ultimately give it the green light.