Movie Review: Escape Room (2019)

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Summary: Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms and must use their wits to survive.
I’m just mad at that fact that I am not going to be doing any escape rooms now lol. Unless I clearly see the group, who goes before us all come out unscathed, then I’ll go lol. Normally, I wouldn’t care and would spoil the mess out of this movie in this review, but full disclosure, I did enjoy it overall.
This is a short review.
Pros:
The Escape Rooms. The biggest thing going for this movie is the format of the rooms. The first room is set up like a waiting room and when Ben tries to leave, the handle pops up and an oven dial pops up. The room is like a giant oven. We then have a Cabin room, then an Ice Room. My favorite room and the best one visually and dynamically was the Billiard/Bar room. That one was inverted so when the characters went inside, the pool table, bar, all that kind of stuff was on the ceiling and the characters were on the ground which looked like a ceiling. It was pretty dope and it allowed for some interesting stunts and it was tension filled. This is probably the best part in the movie. After this room is this Triage room filled with hospital beds, a Trippy Fingerprint weird room and then a library? These rooms are quite creative in how they’re handled and presented to the characters and the audience.
Some of the acting. I think Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda was the best actress in the group. Her character is also among the most likable. When we first met her, I was a little unsure about her, but she ended up growing on me. Logan Miller as Ben is also good. His character is meant to be unlikable but he also grew on me as the movie went on, which attests to the fact that Logan Miller is likable, (like I said in my Love, Simon review). Tyler Labine as Mike was fine, he seemed like a nice guy and Nik Dodani as Danny was also fine. He wasn’t terrible.
First Two Acts. Everything leading up to the conclusion worked enough. While you may not like or care about any of these people, you might find yourself invested in their backstories and why they were chosen for this experience. I think the movie is genuinely fun and enjoyable up until the Triage room. Its tension filled, it’s not scary but you do have to wonder what is going to happen in this room that might cause someone to get hurt or die lol. It’s kind of fascinating as well at how people work together and against each other for a common goal.
Cons:
The Characters. So, we get to meet Jason, Zoey and Ben first in their respective lives before they all come together for the escape room. Once that happens, we meet three other people who have also been invited to the escape room and there’s just this negative feeling in the air. Danny says it perfectly “I’m playing the funnest game with the world’s meanest people” which was true. As the movie goes on, some of these people end up a bit more likable but I don’t think I have ever had a movie start where I have literally disliked every character in their introduction.
Cliché/Predictable. So, this movie is pretty cliché and predictable. I called everything. The film in ways reminds me of the Saw movies, in terms of the set up and execution, not that I have firsthand experience as I will not watch those movies. But as it went on I was like “oh, so this is basically Saw” just without the gore. I called the ending. I called the connections of the rooms with the character’s backstories. I mean, it’s not hard to get once things get going. I think the movie wanted to be clever, but it just felt like “meh”.
Stupid, Stupid Decisions. First, if someone I know sends me some mysterious puzzle box thing, I’m going to call them to thank them, or even verify that they sent it to me. Plus, they have these cryptic little notes, I mean COME ON! I also check everything for reviews, but I go beyond the company website because those are usually fake anyway. But outside of that, they just touch stuff without thinking about it, like at the beginning when Ben is in the library room, he sees that the door has this four-number lock and he goes “okay, there’s four numbers” and he proceeds to move the number one which causes the walls to start closing in on him. I’m like… bruh, you just said you needed four numbers, WHY WOULD YOU MOVE ONE OF THEM WITHOUT KNOWING THE CODE! Dumb. Then later in the Billiard room when three people are hanging on to the bookshelf… do y’all think it’s going to hold all three of y’all? There are other things to grab on to. In the waiting/oven room, when Zoey figures out the first official clue, everyone kind of freaks out at her about it and I’m like “but this is what you’re supposed to do and she’s the one who pretty much makes quick work of that first room” sooo chiiiiill.
The Last Act. After the Triage room, it just gets ridiculous and stupid and it no longer takes the time it was taking in the beginning. It just begins to speed towards the big finish that you’re like “whoa wait… stop!” The acting particularly from Jay Ellis and Taylor Russell gets worse as Jason continues to make decision after decision that is even proof of his horrible writing and Zoey… it was like a 180. Albeit, you could say for a reason, but ugh it was cringey. Then the way it ends! I mean are you KIDDING ME? That entire scene and the very last line completely pushed me away. I was kind of into it, it’s not that great but I was into it and that just ruined it completely. I think I even laughed and said “wow”. So, I watched the alternate ending and that would have been a much better ending than what we got. *sighs* Fail you guys. Major fail.
Overall, I think Escape Room is fun enough and passable enough in the first half to be enjoyable fun, especially with a group of people. Some of the acting is good and watching the characters explore and navigate these rooms, which is clearly where all the attention went too because surely, it’s not character development. The leading up to the final act and climax is kind of okay in terms of build-up, tension and entertainment. The rooms are the best part of the movie and Deborah Ann Woll stands out as the best actress in the film with probably the best character… with that said, I don’t think movie works the way it wants to by the end. The ending completely undercuts what it spent its time trying to build up, especially with the acting becoming over the top, particularly from Taylor Russell. Not to mention, the last five minutes…gosh. Don’t end your movie on a BAD NOTE otherwise that’s ALL THE AUDIENCE WILL REMEMBER! Anyways, check this one out if you like your January “horror films” or you’re just curious, it’s mostly harmless.
Rating: 2 out 5 stars.
Have you seen Escape Room? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know down below! If you haven’t, are you even interested in seeing it?
Will you go to an actual Escape Room after this? I probably won’t lol.
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