Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room
Director: Adam Robitel
Writer: Bragi F. Schut, Maria Melnik
Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Nik Dodani, Yorick van Wageningen
Seen on: 7.4.2021

Content Note: ableism

Zoey (Taylor Russell), Ben (Logan Miller), Jason (Jay Ellis), Mike (Tyler Labine), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), and Danny (Nik Dodani) have all received an invitiation to a very special Escape Room – one that promises 10,000 dollars to the winner. It doesn’t take long for them to realize, though, that the game is literally one of life and death.

Escape Room feels pretty uninspired. A tired rehash of pieces we have all seen before, combined with bland characters. I was quickly bored and basically only finished the film out of lethargy.

The film poster showing the players in a cube-like room with several doors. Zoey's (Taylor Russell) can be seen in the background divided in puzzle peaces of which a few are missing.

I like escape rooms. I like puzzles. I like horror movies. And Escape Room could have been a fun combination of all those three things I like. Instead it is mostly just boring. The biggest problem is that the characters are so incredibly flat that I just didn’t care what happened to them. They are all one-note, and in the case of Zoey that note is pretty offensive: she is probably supposed to be autistic, given that she has supreme math and no social skills. But that stereotypical portrayal of austistic people is not acknowledged, and in the end the film seems to suggest if you just torture autistic people, they will become self-confident and it will do them good, which is just fucked up.

So, we get a cast of characters we care little to nothing about who have to solve puzzles that are just not that exciting. The film jumps into things, and it might have worked a little better if it had slowly built up to the real mayhem, kept people in suspense a little longer. But honestly, I doubt that there would have been much they could have done with regards to the puzzles that would have offset the bland characters.

Zoey (Taylor Russell) with a puzzle box.

The film reminded me of Cube (it’s been probably decades that I saw it, but I remember it as being actually scary), Saw (only saw the first one) and it picks up similar themes to a couple of other films. That wouldn’t be a problem per se, if it also didn’t feel like all those other films already did it better than Escape Room.

It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen (if it was, I’d probably have more fun with it), but it’s pretty much entirely forgettable.

The players looking at a doll that is on the phone.

Summarizing: it’s not worth it.

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