Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Movie Review: "Escape Room (2019)

Director: Adam Robitel
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

A group of strangers, each with past traumas in their lives, get invited to an escape room where the winner will receive $10,000. They quickly discover that losing the game means death.

Escape Room 2019 movie
"Have fun playing with your box." (Image Source)
If there's one thing we've learned from horror movies, it's to never open mysterious puzzle boxes...actually, you're probably better off not opening *any* boxes at all. "Escape Room" is directed Adam Robitel, who is known for directing horror films like "The Taking of Deborah Logan" and the annoying "Insidious: The Last Key." The screenplay is written by Maria Melnik and Bragi F. Schut. The story focuses on three strangers, a college student studying quantum physics named Zoey (Taylor Russell), a grocery store stock boy named Ben (Logan Miller), and a stockbroker named Jason (Jay Ellis), who each receive a mysterious puzzle box they must solve. Once they do, the invitation inside promises $10,000 dollars to anyone who can make it through a super-exclusive escape room. When they arrive, they meet three more strangers in the waiting room, a combat veteran named Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), a truck driver named Mike (Tyler Labine), and a hardcore gamer named Danny (Nik Dodani). The six of them must work together to solve the escape room in the hopes of winning the cash prize, but they soon learn there is more at stake than what was expressed on the invitation, and failure to solve any room in time means death.
Escape Room 2019 movie
"I'm sure they can't afford to light every room on fire." (Image Source)
"Escape Room" is the obligatory PG-13 January horror film this year. History has shown us that January horror movies are usually pretty damn awful. They are almost always poorly written, boring flicks overloaded with jump scares and devoid of tension or sense. "Escape Room" is not a well-written film and often has some bad dialogue and pretty stiff acting, but it does manage to be entertaining and sort of fun at times. It also maintains a decent amount of excitement and tension, even to the point where we found ourselves invested in the characters and whether or not they would survive. The film combines the concepts of other movies like "Saw" and "Cube" as people are forced to solve puzzles in a limited amount of time or face certain death. The constantly running ticking time clock element helped keep us on edge and engaged in the mayhem. The movie also boasts some imaginative set pieces loaded with cool little puzzles and intricately decorated rooms. For the first 90% of its runtime, we were on board with what "Escape Room" had to offer...and then came the ending. Why can't directors leave well enough alone? The conclusion goes on and on and drags out for way too long. At least two of its fake endings seem to be there merely to set up an inevitable sequel. Considering its low budget and its respectable box office, it may actually get to deliver on that setup.
Escape Room 2019 movie
"This is not part of the game." (Image Source)
In the end, "Escape Room" is a massively flawed yet mostly enjoyable horror/mystery movie. It's nothing to write home about, but it's not the dumpster fire we feared it might be.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.4/10
RT Rating: ~53%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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