The triumph of the so-called “escape rooms” has long since continued from the USA to United Kingdom. An action horror film is now being released in cinemas that takes the simple concept of puzzle rooms and weaves it into a beautiful mix of styles from “Saw”, “Final Destination” and classic adventure. Our criticism too ESCAPE ROOM reveals more.
The Plot Summary
Zoey (Taylor Russell) is a good student, but she is simply too reserved to actively participate in the lectures. Nevertheless, her lecturer thinks highly of her, which leads Zoey to believe in something he is doing when one day she receives a mysterious cube: an invitation to an adventure. Just like the adrenaline junkies Danny (Nik Dodani), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll) and Ben (Logan Miller), she then finds herself locked in a so-called escape room. The group must work together to free themselves from this predicament using skill and physical strength. But just a few minutes after they move in, the room reveals its danger. Maybe not everyone will escape the escape room alive…
Movie explanation of the ending
It was actually only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of making the principle of so-called escape rooms the premise of a film. Director Adam Robitel (“Insidious – The Last Key”) is not the first, but the first whose project is brought to the screen on a large scale. In terms of staging, he bases his work on two film series that had their heyday in the mid-noughties: “Saw” on the one hand (the eighth part, which was only released in 2017, was a complete failure) and “Final Destination”, whose reboot is supposedly imminent. on the other hand. It sounds as if the only thing new about “Escape Room” is the basic idea of the escape room, and somehow that’s the case. But in the end the film doesn’t turn out to be a cheap copy of well-known franchises. While the “Final Destination” films in particular have always been more morbid comedies in which the main focus was on the absurd way in which death will strike next time, the “Saw” directors outdid themselves with their largely obnoxious protagonists to bite the dust in the most violent way possible. “Escape Room” doesn’t have as much fun killing its main characters, even if that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some creative effort here. However, the atmosphere is fundamentally exciting, the conflicts carried out are characterized by a pleasant seriousness and the fatal accidents occur without the help of a supernatural force. At the same time, Adam Robitel never gets as explicit as his colleagues in the “Saw” films and is still a lot more creative when it comes to deathtrap design than the “Saw” series in its final breaths.
Zoey (Taylor Russell) believes her lecturer is behind the cube.
With its counting-rhyme structure, “Escape Room” can definitely be accused of being a certain formula; It’s actually pretty clear from the start what the film will lead to. At the same time, the screenwriters add Bragi F. Schut (“The Last Templar”) and Maria Melnik (“American Gods”) the way to the inevitable cliffhanger finale (that sounds less attractive than it actually is) with a few narrative, but above all visual, tricks. In “Escape Room” exactly this path is the goal – and in this case that means the design of the individual rooms from which the four protagonists have to free themselves with their bodies and minds. A large part of the narrative power stands or falls with the main characters. If Adam Robitel were to burn them down so carelessly, as happened in “Jigsaw,” hardly anyone would be seriously interested in the interests of the escape room clique. But the script gradually brings out more depth from the characters, who were initially only introduced in a template-like manner; not least because the film has many scenes in which the direct interaction of the young adults is particularly important. “Escape Room” is not just about freeing yourself from a deadly trap as quickly as possible. Instead, the main thing is to solve puzzles. And through the various solutions, you also learn a lot about the private, but above all about the mental state of the main characters, which (unlike in the majority of common horror films) is stable for each of them. The main characters in “Escape Room” are definitely not crazy.
The same applies to the outstanding set design, because the creativity with which the makers have created one escape room after the other is almost too impressive to end up filling just a single film. In this respect, a sequel makes sense not only from a content perspective (we won’t go into why in more detail here for spoiler reasons), but above all from a visual perspective. Sometimes a boring bar setting is simply turned upside down, other times a room flooded with strobe lights creates drug trip-like states of mind. And yet another time the troop suddenly finds itself standing on a frozen lake in the middle of the ice-cold wilderness; This insight into the variety of rooms riddled with death traps presented in “Escape Room” should be enough to give you an idea of where the journey in the next film(s) can go, especially at the end The focus is not just on simply stringing together the most effective kills possible, but the story structure also works.
How does the gang get out of the room?
Speaking of effective kills: The FSK approval from 16 onwards already suggests that the comparison with the “Saw” series is only obvious on a structural level. Things don’t get too bloody in “Escape Room”; Here the film is more reminiscent of the related sci-fi thriller “Cube”. Nevertheless, the actors make every effort to make the fear of death of the characters they embody tangible. Especially Taylor Russell (“When you die, your whole life passes you by, they say”) works here as an ideal identification figure who is confronted with the unforeseen events just as suddenly as the viewer himself. The individual advances in knowledge that the script grants the viewer are so cleverly placed that the film’s tension never suffers. Nevertheless, the individual puzzles are always abstract enough to be perceived as a reasonably high hurdle. “Escape Room” is not just a scavenger hunt with violence, but a horror thriller that is equal parts demanding and adrenaline-filled, in which you don’t care about the fates of the characters involved. If you compare this with the film series used for comparison purposes at the beginning, you can roughly predict what will happen if “Escape Room” becomes a success – and at this point it already is.
Conclusion: A horror thriller that is both smart and hard with clever characters and a great set design, whose narrative structure also works – “Escape Room” is a first small highlight in the genre year of 2019.
“Escape Room” can be seen in USA cinemas from February 28th.