I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for these types of puzzle horrors, and whilst some films remain classics in the genre – ‘Cube’ standing out as an obvious example – few manage to get close to the high bar set decades ago.
It is the turn of the blatantly named ‘Escape Room’ to step up to the puzzling plate. It actually does an admirable job, until its final act…
The plot, as you might have surmised by now, involves a group of randomly assorted strangers partaking in a sequence of escape rooms. Also, as you would expect they think it’s a game, but it’s not long before they figure out the deadly reality of the traps in the rooms. Each themed room contains clues, and the group must solve the puzzle to open the exit. Unfortunately for them, for someone to win, others must loose.
I was impressed at first by the limited amount of time spent wasted in the inevitable setup, and with a swift start, and all contestants into the first room within 20minutes or so I was swept up in the intrigue. The themes of the rooms were cool, one a giant oven, another freezing cold, others featuring a variety of physical or environmental traps. The clues given to the contestants are solvable by you if you are quick, and whilst I’m hard press to recall any of the characters names, they were all inoffensive enough to just let you sit back and enjoy the action.
The room’s traps and sets looked fantastic, and even though I’ve no doubt that this movie didn’t have a huge budget, you wouldn’t know it. The set pieces came together nicely, giving just the right amount of mystery to be enjoyed, before the climactic moments where you aren’t quite sure who will make it and who won’t. I was hoping for some gruesome moments, but still, whilst ultimately bloodless, the creative nature of the rooms and traps did enough to keep me entertained (just!).
The film carries good pace, and whilst eventually the script deteriorated into a lot of wobbly overacting, screaming and cliched one liners about ‘surviving’ ‘being a survivor’, it’s a great watch.
Right up to the film’s final 15 minutes or so.
Clearly not happy with just the stand-alone entry, ‘Escape Room’ clearly hopes to go franchise, and with the most generic ‘corporate evil’ exposition effectively killing off the films conclusion it also managed to undo the mystery and atmosphere it had crafted throughout. Shame really, but I wouldn’t let it put me off giving ‘Escape Room’ a punt for the right price on demand.
Overall, one of the better films in this varied sub-genre, with some really cool set pieces for you to enjoy. Shame about the ending, and that it wasn’t quite gory enough for my tastes, but it’s a great choice to open a movie evening with!