Trapped in a Screen for 99mins (Escape Room review)

If you love The Hunger Games, David Fincher’s The Game and Saw, then this is the film for you! Based on the international hit entertainment game, Escape Room is a nasty tale of how being trapped in a room could always get worse. Unfortunately, it loses its thrills with a flimsy plot and cheap jokey dialogue.

It is cited that Escape Room is a Psychological Horror, but it’s more of a Thriller than anything else. The plot see’s six people locked in a series of rooms, desperate to escape. They slowly realise, however, that the consequences of them not escaping could be deadly. I must that that the thrills of the film cannot be denied. It’s an exciting watch, and at just 99 minutes, it gets on with it without too much filler.

I did find the structure somewhat problematic however. The film opens with a thoroughly exciting scene of a guy trying desperately to escape a room. This scene is incredibly effective and sets a great momentum that is then killed during the next ten minutes while the characters are all set up. Having seen the scene at the start, you are excited to see how the film will twist its meaning, but the place this scene falls within the film was an issue for me, and meant that a lot of the film’s shocks and twists left me underwhelmed.

The plot is also very contrived, with key changes and twists not quite working. It’s filled with many plot holes, and the films method of fleshing out the characters using flashbacks didn’t always quite work for me. I also found the cast to be slightly annoying, with neither comedy nor terror coming easy to them.

So, having said all that, the film is a massive thrill fest. Some of the rooms and the puzzle’s therein are well established, and despite using the quickest melting ice in the world, most of them are logical. A particular stand out scene was set in a Pool Bar themed room. The design of the room was stunning, with the characters actually on the ceiling and all the decoration upside down. It was an effective design that, with wonderfully disorientating camera work, provided the highpoint of the film.

Escape Room, for all its many problems, is a thoroughly exciting film. The thrill’s it offers aren’t fake, and though the narrative is an issue, and character work and comedy doesn’t quite work, at just 99 minutes it is worth a watch if that’s your thing. With a sequel almost confirmed by the final sting, it will be interesting to see where the ERCU (Escape Room Cinematic Universe) goes next.

5 stars 2

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