ESCAPE ROOM, the latest from director Will Wernick, is a terrifying story of what can go wrong when an innocent game turns deadly. The film stars Evan Williams (“Versailles”), Annabelle Stephenson (“Revenge”), Elisabeth Hower (“Louie”), Dan J. Johnson (“The Brittany Murphy Story”), John Ierardi (Pray for Rain), and Kelly Delson (3am in Hollywood).
On paper, one wouldn’t think this would be a film that I would enjoy, but for whatever reason, I had a ton of fun watching this. ESCAPE ROOM centers around six friends who go to an escape room to celebrate the birthday of their friend Tyler (Williams). From the beginning of the film, it’s apparent that not everything is all rainbows and sunshine between the friends – and infidelity may be the root of all of their problems. However, not wanting to ruin the birthday boy’s day, the friends decide to do a secretive, albeit somewhat fancy, escape room. This game, which bears little information about where it came from, is much more sinister and cruel than any of these friends could have imagined.
Though the acting isn’t anything Oscar worthy, I will say that the talent did very well in terms of moving the story along. I didn’t necessarily like all the characters, but as the film went on I found myself becoming more invested in what was going to happen to them. I would even go so far as to say that I kind of cared if some of them survived. When we first meet them, they give off an air of self entitlement that is extremely annoying and makes them characters that are unrelatable; however, once the escape room takes a hold of everyone, there is some satisfactions to be had when the body count starts to rise.
Speaking of body counts, there were some distinct kills in ESCAPE ROOM. Now, we must make mention of the fact that this film runs parallel to movies like SAW which really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Unlike the victims of Jigsaw’s deadly games, these players weren’t picked because of some shameful and destructive secret that they carry, instead our band of six players willingly go to experience the escape room. As their game moves along, we learn that there are some secrets that some of the players have kept close to their chest but nothing compared to those that are in the SAW films. When the inevitable happens and people start to die, I found myself relatively impressed with the uniqueness of the traps and how they were creatively used to go along with the escape room element.
Overall, ESCAPE ROOM had enough thrills and kills to keep me entertain throughout the duration of the movie. Though it could easily be forgettable in terms of being a SAW rip-off, I still think this film had enough distinctions to set it apart from it’s contemporaries. As someone who has played many escape rooms throughout the years, this movie definitely put a bit of fear within me as to what could happen if you play the wrong game. If you are looking for a fun and bloody popcorn flick to watch with friends, I would definitely suggest picking up ESCAPE ROOM and then going to a real escape room afterwards as you never know what you and your friends will discover…
ESCAPE ROOM is now available on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand.