Pre-Pandemic days… am I right? Before all the shutdowns, global pandemic, inflation, shortages in just about everything ranging from toilet paper to computer chips, it was just a special time. Something we take for granted. Remember the days when you and several of your friends decided that you wanted to be locked inside a small room for an hour or so with only your wits and deductive skills to fall back on?
That’s right, I’m talking about escape rooms. They used to be all the craze back in the day. There were literally millions of them around. Every so often they would change themes and have different mysteries to solve.
Nowadays, the last thing anyone wants to do is pay to be stuck in an enclosed small room with potential strangers with potential illnesses.
At the height of the Escape Room phenomena was the film Escape Room (2019) starring Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani. Personally, I’ve only heard of Deborah Ann Woll because of the Daredevil Netflix show, but that shouldn’t discount the rest of the cast. I liked the acting of the six major characters. Each character had his/her own flaws and personality. I genuinely felt apprehensive for them as they tried to solve the life-or-death puzzles.
That’s right. This wouldn’t be a horror movie if it didn’t include some life-or-death situations. The six characters are given invitations to participate in an escape room and the winner gets $10,000. The only problem is that they weren’t told ahead of time that if you failed to escape, you died. It’s funny because as the viewer, you already know they’re going to die if they fail so that first time, you’re nervously laughing wondering which one will bite the dust first.
As far as the escape rooms themselves are concerned, they’re inventive. The characters realize after a room or two that the rooms have been tailor made for them. Which is when the pennies drop, and the remaining characters discover that they each share a unique thing in common. Even though the film is a few years old, I won’t spoil that for you because I thought Escape Room was a pretty decent film. It’s not the best film, but it’s a good way to kill a couple hours. Watching it with a friend is even better because you can bounce ideas of them and see if you can figure out the puzzles before the characters. Or you can try to figure out who the Game Master is.
The one problem that I have with the film is the concept of it. The uber rich organization spends billions of dollars engineering these killer escape rooms as well as all the clean-up and covering up the dead bodies. But why? Like, if I wanted to watch people kill themselves, I’d just kidnap people and plop them on a remote island with a cache of weapons (maybe in the shape of a cornucopia) and set up some cameras. Then I’d pop some popcorn and crack open a case of Diet Rite (I’m rich but still thrifty) and watch the events unfold. Once you stop and think about all the little things, the film starts to unravel. Like, the contestants entered the escape room of their volition. Let’s say Deborah Ann Woll’s character’s train was delayed, and the escape room shenanigans started without her. The room that was specifically designed for her would have no meaning for the other characters. That’d potentially make for a short movie.
Overall, I enjoyed watching this one and since the DVD I bought conveniently had the sequel included, I may have to check that one out sometime.
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