The Reel Review
January is well known for the being the graveyard for bad horror movies, and Escape Room proves to be no exception. Taylor Russell (Lost In Space), Deborah Ann Woll (HBO’s True Blood, Daredevil) and Logan Miller (Love, Simon) star in this horror/thriller about six strangers vying to win $10,000 by conquering a Chicago escape room. Minutes in, they find the game has deadly consequences.
Director Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key, The Taking of Deborah Logan) trots out the same gimmicky, kill-rinse-repeat tropes found in 1997’s Cube and the Saw franchise, just in a more teen-friendly, Hunger Games-ish, PG-13 format. As a result, the first 50 minutes is actually somewhat interesting, as the contestants figure out the clues needed to escape the various rooms, but the story then veers off into goofiness (there’s only so much fun to be had watching other people play a game, after all), as we learn the one dimensional characters’ individual backstories, and how they are somehow integral to the deadly game. If that contrived plot turn isn’t silly enough, it is followed by a final 20 minutes of sheer, jaw dropping stupidity. If someone invites you to enter this Escape Room, don’t go in.
• Don’t confuse this film with 2017’s Escape Room (yup, same title), which stars Skeet Ulrich (Scream) and Sean Young (No Way Out, Blade Runner). In it, four friends have an hour to escape a Los Angeles escape room featuring a demonically-possessed killer.
• Deborah Ann Woll was primarily a stage actress prior to getting her big break in 2008 as former good girl turned sexy vampire in HBO’s True Blood.
• Director Adam Robitel also has a cameo role in Escape Room as the lobby receptionist.