Movies

Movie Review: Escape Room

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It’s no surprise that Hollywood would turn a popular interactive game, escape room, into a movie.  In real life, you pay to be locked in a room with several people and spend an hour to discover and decipher riddles and puzzles that would ultimately let you out.  If you aren’t able to solve them, well, you still get out safely when the time is up.

In “Escape Room,” six strangers receives a sleek black box, each containing an intriguing invitation to participate in an escape room activity with a prize of $10,000 for the winner.  They are timid physics college student Zoey (Taylor Russell), nerdy gamer Danny (Nik Dodani), hotshot businessman Jason (Jay Ellis), former miner-turned-trucker Mike (Tyler Labine), scarred war veteran Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll) and stuck-in-a-rut warehouse worker Ben (Logan Miller).

While these people seemingly have nothing in common, eventually they find that they are chosen because of something in their past that makes them who they are.  The mysterious game master seems to know the smallest details of their lives and tailor the game specifically for them.


Photo Credit: David Bloomer Copyright: © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The game begins before any of the participants realize as they sit in the waiting room.  After the initial denial that this is real and that they are trapped, they realize they have no choice but banding together and figuring out the hidden signs and personal clues in order to survive the death traps – from being baked alive in an oven-heated waiting area, submerged in a frozen forested lake, falling down an elevator shaft in an upside down bar, poisoned to death in a hospital triage, hallucinating in a trippy room, to crushed into pieces in a study room.  Then there’s also a suspicion whether the game master is one of them.

The interconnected sets are creatively designed and challenges tricky, packed with paranoia and terror.  The participants come up fatally short in each room since the game is rigged to ensure zero survival.  Every passing moment, every death rattles the survivors more and more.  The question is: Who would do this and why? The ending makes it clear that there’s a larger entity at work and sets up for an even more preposterous sequel.

If you could believe in the total impossibility of the execution, you’ll enjoy this tension-filled ride.  There is no escaping in “Escape Room.”  This psychological horror thriller will keep you at the edge of your seat.

Copyright (c) 2019. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic (rottentomatoes.com/critic/nathalia-aryani). She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

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