SONY PICTURES RELEASING (2019)
Director: Adam Robitel
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani
You’ve had Panic Room, now it’s time for...Escape Room!
With Insidious: The Last Key director Adam Robitel at the helm, I had little to no hope of Escape Room even being half decent, such was the depths of despair that The Last Key sent me hurtling to. However, everyone is allowed additional chances, so I went into Escape Room interested but not excited. The premise is simple, six seemingly random people are invited to participate in an escape room but it soon becomes apparent they are all there for a reason and that their past hasn’t been forgotten.
If you can imagine a mash-up of The Cabin in the Woods and Cube (and I guess a PG version of Saw), then you’re most of the way there in terms of what you get from Escape Room. It’s not as fun as Cabin or as raw as Cube, instead, it sits in the middle – it tries for levity at times and strives for weight at others. It doesn’t really succeed with either, but 80% of the movie is very watchable – the end is savagely disappointing in its execution and laziness. The weightier aspects fail because the characters aren’t particularly likable or relatable – just stereotypes and disposable goons. Taylor Russell (as Zoey) does her best with leading the movie but ultimately comes across as a deus ex-machina. Similarly, Deborah Ann Woll’s character is awful until the writers attempt to make her tragic but none of the cast or characters make up the stronger points of the movie.
The rooms are fun and inventive even if they lack any real terror or fear. As with many movies like Escape Room, the success occurs when the mystery is rampant and the audience is just as unaware as the characters. Once the veil is lifted, it’s usually underwhelming and, honestly, Escape Room’s ‘reveal’ is nothing that hasn’t been seen or done before. In terms of lead up, the movie wins there. Despite the characters, the events that unfold add to the suspense levels and we get some stakes which are always necessary.
Escape Room is a decent B-movie that has potential for a franchise, but I fear that all the ideas have already been used already and further movies would potentially just be utter crap. This movie felt like it could have been more, so unless they can improve on a well-worn idea, then I won’t hold out much hope. Even with poor characters, Escape Room is a fun romp for ninety-minutes and is one of those enjoyable horror movies that won’t leave an impression but is pretty entertaining whilst it’s on.
January 21st 2019