January 13, 2019
Escape Room: Half Decent, but Trapped in Cliches
Escape RoomSource: Escape Room
Escape Room is a psychological thriller in which six strangers must put their heads together in an attempt to navigate and survive a series of riddles and perilous hazards. The film is half decent, but unable to escape the stereotypical cliches of it’s genre.
A Bit of Context…
Escape Room is the byproduct of director Adam Robitel, who is also known for co-writing Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, as well as the producer of films such as I Am Legend, and The Fast and the Furious, Neal H. Mortiz of Sony Pictures.
Running at just one hour and 40 minutes, the $9 billion PG-13 thriller brought in nearly $20 billion during the weekend of Jan. 4, Escape Room’s opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.
Going into Escape Room, I definitely had my reservations. The trailers had left a poor taste in my mouth, leaving me to originally dismiss the film as another trope in the industry of American psychological thrillers.
The official trailer for Escape RoomSource: ESCAPE ROOM – Official Trailer (HD) | Sony Pictures Entertainment
With an hour and a half to spare in the middle of South Jersey during it’s off-season, my partner and I decided to give the film the benefit of the doubt.
Cinematically pleasing with a decent cast, the film had initially confirmed my bias through it’s cheesie, ill-timed humor and lackluster first escape room. However, the third room genuinely had me on the edge of my seat. I can only imagine how silly I must’ve looked, with one hand glued over my mouth and the other gripping the hand of my partner.
Unlike other films in it’s genre, the characters are mostly likeable. From the start, it is clear Zoey is written as the quick witted and doe-eyed Mary Sue of the bunch, with Ben serving as the one who was so-unlikely-to-win-it-was-blatantly-obvious-he-would-as-a-twist. Amanda falls into the badass ex-war-vet stereotype, Mike is essentially the goofy uncle of the bunch, Danny is the nerd, while Jason remained a downright despicable wolf.
Escape Room definitely isn’t a horror movie or “Scary AF” as the review cited on the landing page of it’s official website claims. Although the plot hit a few pitfalls, succumbing to cliches that run hand in hand with psychological thrillers, it’s certainly an intriguing spin on the concept of the escape room industry. It does a much better job than Unfriended in taking something that is trending and translating it into an engaging, semi-electrifying film.
“Scary AF” – Andrew Freund, DISH NATIONSource: Escape Room
Escape Room isn’t terrible, but I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, either. All-in-all, if you have an hour or two to spare, I recommend giving it a watch. In fact, I’m somewhat curious about the cliff hanger and may just see the foreshadowed sequel in theatres, as well.
I’d say Escape Room warrants a slightly higher rating than 5.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally? I’d rate the film 6.5/10, cautioning audiences not to escape the theatre while the film is figuring out it’s footing during the first puzzle.
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