Director: Adam Robitel
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Main Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Nik Dodani, Yorick van Wageningen
Plot: Six strangers find themselves locked inside a series of deadly escape rooms, filled with dangers and clues specifically relevant to their pasts.
My Thoughts: I misjudged this movie completely. I don’t know why but from the name and the poster, I assumed it was a terrible modern horror movie filled with jump scares, taking full advantage of the popularity of escape rooms. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a trailer, but it was only when I discovered my brother had dragged my poor scaredy cat mum to see it that I find out what kind of movie it was.
It’s not a horror at all, in fact it’s an absolutely fascinating little thriller movie with an unfortunately awful ending. It feels low budget for all the right reasons, with a cast of lesser-known actors giving it their all. Yes, the acting is a little dodgy in places, but I found it easily forgivable. I love a good puzzle and it was actually a lot of fun trying to solve the clues with this bunch of characters.
There’s a specific reason these people have been brought together, and clues within the rooms as well as glimpses of their backstories tell us why, and it’s enough to make you actually care about them – which I find rare in movies like this. It’s no masterpiece but it’s certainly another surprise of 2019. It’s a running theme this year, movies that I thought would be mediocre have turned out really quite good.
The let down of Escape Room is the ending. I won’t ruin it for you of course but it needed to end 10 minutes earlier than it did. Not because it felt long, but because it had a satisfying enough ending that was left open slightly, and then it just gets out of hand. It’s like telling someone a joke, them finding it hilarious, and then you explain the punchline to them in such detail that the joke ends up not being funny anymore. A shame, really!
Best Bit: I just loved solving the puzzles. I’ve only done 1 escape room myself – it was Sherlock Holmes themed and unlike this movie, we weren’t in any real danger but it was just so much fun!
Worst Bit: There’s a bit in the second room where the group needs to find the name of the reindeer. It was so obvious it was Rudolph and it took them so long to work it out! I have no idea what went through my husband’s mind when he found me sat on the sofa shouting, Rudolph. Rudolph! RUDOLPH! OH MY GOD IT’S RUDOLPH YOU IDIOTS.
Fun Trivia: An alternate ending was filmed in which Zoe receives a clue hidden in a Sudoku magazine that leads her back to her professor’s classroom. Once there she discovers a check from Minos for $10,000 hidden in a compartment where her classroom seat is. She destroys it, but underneath it is her dead mother’s compass. A camera/microphone device then rises from her professor’s podium and a distorted voice speaks to her as the classroom door shuts, telling her a new game has started and she has 90 minutes.
Are you kidding me right now? This ending would have been amazing!
My Rating: 3 and a half winter coats, which still isn’t enough to keep the whole group warm!