Movie Reviews

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021)

escape-room-tournament-champions-movie-reviewDirector: Adam Robitel

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Horror

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Isabelle Fuhrman, James Frain, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquerel, Holland Roden, Carlito Olivero

Plot: Following the events of the original movie, Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) travel to New York with the aim of exposing the terrible deeds of the mysterious company known as Minos. They find themselves caught in yet another escape room, and the fight for their lives begins once again.

My Thoughts: It is a CRIME that I missed both Escape Room movies at the cinema. The first one because I wrongly assumed it was pure horror (at the time I was avoiding horror) and the sequel because the only showing of it at my cinema was at like, 10pm and…that’s my bedtime. Rock and roll, me. When I eventually gave the original a chance, I loved it, for all it’s goofiness and dumbness. If you enjoy puzzles and/or if you’ve ever done an escape room yourself, it’s really hard to not find something to enjoy. The one thing I really hated was how it ended, I wanted it to stay a stand-alone movie but now? I’ve changed my mind.

Not every movie has to be considered for multiple awards. Some of them can exist just for enjoyment, mediocre movies that are simply fun to watch and let you forget about the real world for a while. I can see now that this is going to be a franchise that carries on for a few years at least. I’m happy with that for the meantime, now. These escape rooms are crazy, deadly without being gory (apart from that opening scene) and just about smart enough that you won’t figure them out too soon before the characters do.

I realise that within the space of 2 days I’ve hated on the classic Casablanca whilst also singing the praises of dumb movies, but you should come to expect that from me now. There’s a reason this is a hobby and not a job for me, ha! I’m sure the third installment will be worse, but in my honest opinion, the Escape Room sequel was actually better than the original.

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Best Bit: I’m struggling to decide on my favourite room. I think overall, the bank was the best one for the sheer number of puzzles it contained, but the acid rain in the city room was intense! I actually felt my whole body tense up for that.

Worst Bit: I wish I was at the cinema for the moment a character uttered a line along the lines of “What is this? A tournament of champions?” so I could have groaned aloud. But other than that, have these characters not learned yet that the rooms are designed to kill someone off each time and going back to save someone destined for their doom is a really bad idea?!

Fun Trivia: The Escape Room Company got its name after the mythological king Minos. Minos had Daedalus create a labyrinth in which the Minotaur would dwell. Seven boys and seven girls were given to the monster to be eaten every nine years.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 umbrellas that aren’t going to be of much use if you happen to find yourself caught in an acid downpour…

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Movie Reviews

Escape Room (2019)

escape-room-movie-review-2019-posterDirector: 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.

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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!

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