‘Escape Room’ fun, but lacks scares

When six people with seemingly different lives all receive the same puzzle box inviting them to an exclusive escape room with the chance to win a huge sum of money, everyone gets on board. But when the game turns to reality, each person must decide if they are willing to be the lone survivor. Written by Maria Melnik and Bragi F. Schut and directed by Adam Robitel, Escape Room is a psychological thriller that, unfortunately, misses the mark just slightly. (MTP: 3/5)

Review by FF2 Intern Maiya Pascouche

Going into Escape Room, I was expecting to be terrified. I have never been a big fan of horror movies and anything to do with torture or gruesome death makes me squirm. Therefore, when I was a little bored by the predictability of the film, I was at least relieved I did not have to close my eyes every few minutes. However, this could be a major letdown for those expecting this to be a super scary film so be warned.

At the start of the film we are introduced to three main characters: Zoey, Ben and Jason. Zoey is an intelligent, incredibly shy college student, Ben works at a grocery store and seems to be a dead-end kid living with his mom and Jason is a highly successful, arrogant Wall Street-type. Of course, nothing could possibly bring these characters together, right? For plot purposes, they are all gifted a puzzle box that unlocks an invitation to the Minos Escape Room, the most advanced and intricate escape room ever created, for a grand prize. Fast forward to the initial meeting and now three more plot-moving characters have arrived to win the money and the game.

I understand the appeal of a scary movie about an escape room because they’re everywhere nowadays. From family bonding to work retreats, people everywhere are trying escape rooms because they challenge people and put them in stressful, but ultimately rewarding environments. To take something like that and turn it terrifying feels like a brilliant start, but Escape Room could not deliver on the terror. I was tense, but never surprised when someone died or failed or retaliated. The big reveal of why they were all chosen to escape together never felt truly earned. I would have loved to see more psychological detail when it came to the characters, their corresponding rooms and the choices they made. It felt as though the audience was left to pick up the pieces and we were already so exhausted from watching the characters find the clues that I never felt interested enough to invested in the characters’ storylines or personalities.

While some characters were well-acted, like Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), I found most to be played as characecatures or stereotypes rather than real people. It was difficult to care about each character and the choices they made or when they died because I did not truly believe their struggle – and expected demise. However, the characters were fun, overall, and the actors playing them did a fine job for a scary movie.

Escape Room is a fun psychological thriller that is not too scary and has an interesting idea behind it. Although it was not an amazing film, it’s fun … and if you like escape rooms, maybe think about taking a break before trying your next one.

© Maiya Pascouche (1/4/18) FF2 Media

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

Does Escape Room pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?

No.

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