Escape Room turns a fun pastime into a living nightmare. Six strangers receive an invitation to enter the Minos Escape Rooms, where players need to look for clues and solve a series of puzzles to win a US$10,000 prize. Of course, the seemingly innocent game turns out to be a real-life death trap. The players must escape the rooms, while overcoming their worst fears.
Sadly, this film lacks originality, borrowing from previous escape movies like Saw and Cube. It’s also clear that the filmmakers plan to make a sequel (or, more likely, two or three), given the not-so-subtle hints. The puzzles aren’t that clever, either.
The only interesting point is that the themes of the room relate to the characters’ past traumas, giving the film more of the feel of a psychological thriller. However, it barely scratches the surface of the characters’ past ordeals, which greatly weakens the effect. It would’ve been great, for example, if more screen time could’ve been given to Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), a war veteran suffering from PTSD. Instead, the plot focuses on quiet, book-smart Zoey (Taylor Russell) and the alcoholic, street-smart Ben (Logan Miller), whose coming-of-age arcs are rather trite and obvious.
Escape Room is an entertaining watch if you enjoy survival stories (but not the gore), but there are plenty of films that do it better.