Escape Room (I) (2019)
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The acting was great - but more importantly this film had a great story. It never got boring. A very clever idea to combine aspects of the Saw films with modern escape rooms.
The only criticism I have about this film is that the twist at the end was a bit of a stretch - very difficult to swallow. But Overall - an excellent film.
Many of the leads were unlikable, but that's to be expected with budget movies like this. Also, it's written like a teen movie, where people are losers one day, white collar successes the next, which is ridiculous, but that's Hollywood. Getting past this, it still is a pretty good watch and a way to waste two hours.
Movie: Escape Room (2019)
Director: Adam Robitel Writers: Bragi F. Schut (screenplay by) (as Bragi Schut), Maria Melnik (screenplay by) Stars: Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine
New Twist Attention To Detail/Creativity Good Acting Character Development Story Stuck To Gimmick Suspenseful Energy Short Run Time
SUMMARY: These types of films fall victim to stale presentations and lack of originality. As such, the Escape Room approach was a nice twist on this film bringing with it a new creativity and approach that was refreshing. Each of the rooms had extraordinary detail, planned out to feel like the intense game of survival, filled with snares, baits, and clues to spur the threats on. Such design brought with it new arenas to engage your mind and held much more sustenance. What further advanced the story were the characters, contenders who for once had more dimension than simple, snobbish, cannon fodder that often take center stage. These players held backstories, opportunities to learn, and personalities that evolved with each passing minute. As such, I found myself rooting for the team to succeed instead of rooting for a timely demise to end their flawed personalities. The actors had more room to use their talents to cross the spectrum and do a surprising job expanding upon what was once simple roles. Tying all of this together those, was an engaging story that managed to combine all the backstories, gimmicks, and flair into an engaging cinematic piece that delivered on its promise, but remained interesting on many levels. Uncovering the mysteries, solving the clues, and keeping the energy flowing through the film with a presentation that was filled with anticipation and excitement. Given that they balanced the gimmick with a story it gets bonus points, even more so keeping it in the short run time leads to even more bonus points.
DISLIKES: Cliché A few stretches Wanting More Backstory for some characters Ruined by Trailers
SUMMARY: Sadly, all the planning and details laid out still haven't escaped the cliché and unoriginality that follows these types of films. Escape Room falls into these own sets of traps, but fortunately the spin, ingenuity, and suspense are able to divert the blunt of this area of improvement. One of those that is a bit eye rolling, is that the rooms takes some stretches of the imagination and ignoring reality to get on board. While most of it is acceptable, there are some times I had to turn my brain off extra to get over the unrealistic hurdle. In addition, there was a little bit of adjusting the story order I would have liked to see, placing all the character stories closer to the beginning where their lives were explained in more detail. Had they done this, I feel some of the parts rushed over for me would have been improved, but this minor detail is nothing compared to my big limitation. That much of the story, twists, and fates have been revealed in the trailers to great detail. If you've got a good memory, and watch the trailer with enough focus, you'll get about 60-75% of the movie revealed. So avoid the trailers enough and you will be okay, but otherwise look forward to the last 25% to really give you the last tidbits.
This genre is what you pay for, but fortunately Escape Room renews the potential for greatness in this type of movie. With a focus on detail, character designs, and story integration this addition to the group was fantastic for me. It's engaging pace and suspenseful energy will offset most of the film's limitations. Given all the visuals and fun I had, the movie is well worth a trip to the theater and certainly one of the better horror movies to show up in a while, at least in terms of thriller/slasher. I certainly enjoyed this film and look forward to this direction for future installments if possible. My scores are:
Drama/Horror/Mystery: 8.0-8.5 Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
Escape Room is a twisted and fun thriller film that lacks the originality of the concept since there are films like Saw, The Collector, and The Belko Experiment. But the film does not stop you from being entertained with a thrilling direction that does keep you on the edge of your seat and plays around with the concept of characters going through several escape rooms and puzzle solving. If they fail to solve in time or escape, there are some deadly consequences.
The plot follows several characters Zoey (Taylor Russell), Ben (Logan Miller), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), Mike (Tyler Labine), Jason (Jay Ellis), and Danny (Nik Dodani) all getting an invitation puzzle box that invites them to an escape room experience. If they get out, they will win 10,000 dollars. Right when they go to the destination and waiting in the first room. That is were the games begin. They will have to use their knowledge and problem solving to get through each room before they fall for the trap. With each room and puzzle solving involving a secret of their past. They figure out there is something bigger going on than just an escape room game.
The plot was good. It may not be fresh of an original idea. But it was entertaining to see several strangers trying to figure out the clues and survive. Each character has their own backstory of a tragic past that lead them to this game. Each character all has their own distinct personality on how they try to survive. Zoey is a sweet, intelligent college student. Ben is an alcoholic and a dead beat teenager. Amanda was in the military. Mike is a truck driver. Jason is a financing businessman with a selfish attitude. Danny is the geeky teenager who is obsessed with problem solving. But how are all these characters connected? Or what they have in common? The build up with the plot was good. As they go from one deadly room to another. From a room that is firing up in high temperatures to a frozen lake that is breaking apart to an upside down bar and a white static sound room that may not be for the sensitive audience that can not handle flashy dizzying lights.
Taylor Russell was good playing her character that is pushed to her limits as she progressed through the games. Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani were all good with their characters.
Director Adam Robitel did well in building the suspense and thrills. As characters are facing danger in every room. The direction did well in making you feel claustrophobic or fear of falling from an upside down room. The opening scene with a character being crushed from a room with walls closing in does set the momentum of the suspenseful direction. The music score Brian Tyler and John Carey also helped creating the tone with each room.
I did feel like the twist was a bit far fetched with the last ten minutes of the movie. Without giving away spoilers about the idea of the escape rooms and the ending. Yes, it does leave room for a sequel. I was disappointed and the twist did not leave that surprising shock feeling at all.
Overall, Escape Room is a good psychological horror film. The cast was great. The script and plot was good with having several strange characters playing a deadly game. The direction did have suspense and thrills that was entertaining. Twist may have been the weakest link in the movie. But it was still a fun good time watching the movie.