For many people, the possibility of a new challenge is exciting — especially if there is an award or prize for completing it. The escape room trend has drawn in crowds from far and wide with the promise of mystery, challenging puzzles and — upon completion — the ecstasy of success with a prize waiting at the finish line. “Escape Room” is a film that takes these features to the extreme by throwing the players into a new intense experience where the reward for success is survival.
“Escape Room” follows six participants during their horrific time at the famed Minos Escape Room building. Advertised as the most immersive escape room on the planet, the rooms soon become a battle for life as participants Zoey (Taylor Russell), Ben (Logan MIller), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), Mike (Tyler Labine), Jason (Jay Ellis) and Danny (Nik Dodani) are forced to use their wits and solve complex puzzles created by an anonymous and cruel Gamemaster. Each character experiences flashback sequences to further define their backstory while they attempt to figure out the six escape rooms — serving to explain how each connects with the characters and their past.
While each persona in the film is unique, many of them unfortunately possess an unoriginal, stereotypical background. Audiences will quickly realize this lack of originality in character archetypes — specifically in the cocky businessman Jason, who is not shy to demean the other male characters with sexual and personal insults that feel forced. These stereotypes are so over-established that they become hard to overlook for the duration of the film, especially since none of these characters seem to experience any pivotal moments for future development.
Shortly after the awkward introductions, the characters soon discover that the game had begun — from there, the movie was quick to escalate. Each room was well-developed by the film’s creators with unique visual effects and concepts that impress the audience. For the duration of the contestants’ fight for survival, the audience is filled with panic — constantly clutching the arms of their chairs to wait and find out whether the group in their entirety will find the solution or if they will meet their untimely demise.
“Escape Room” was also filled with numerous plot holes, with the film taking an immediate nosedive into its most noticeable plot holes near the final scenes. There are contradicting scenes that attempt to surprise the audience, but miss the mark as they instead instill a feeling of confusion. The audience may be left wondering — an unfortunate less positive sense than the film had strived for.
While it possesses potential to be a strong movie, “Escape Room” contains a story that lacks proper character development and a weak storyline that undermines the complexity and impressiveness of its featured rooms.