Main cast: Taylor Russell (Zoey Davis), Logan Miller (Ben Miller), Deborah Ann Woll (Amanda Harper), Tyler Labine (Mike Nolan), Jay Ellis (Jason Walker), Nik Dodani (Danny Khan), Kenneth Fok (Detective Li), and Yorick van Wageningen (The Gamemaster)
Director: Adam Robitel
Escape Room isn’t a Saw spinoff or knockoff, at least not exactly, but it is still about people trapped in a place having to fight and even kill one another to be some kind of sole survivor. This time, the victims are placed in what seems like an elaborate fun house, only this time the twists and turns as well as puzzles are designed to be fatal. As you can guess, this is all the work of some big corporation who makes money by getting people to bet on the outcome, et cetera.
The victims, lured into the Minos Escape Room Facility by the promise of a chance to win $10,000, are: college student Zoey, stockboy Ben, trader Jason, war veteran Amanda, some kind of ex-miner Mike, and escape room fan Danny. And yes, the fan dies first – not a spoiler, it’s all in the trailer – letting the rest know that they have better play along or die. Actually, they will all die anyway, bar one, because there can be only one survivor – ahem – and savvy viewers will know enough to place their bet on those that have the biggest semblance of personality.
The whole thing reminds me way too much of the stupid, overlong “training area dash” scene in Resident Evil: Retribution, and this is not a good thing. At least the latter has zombie mutants and what not, this one just has annoying characters screaming and scrambling around. The escape room facility itself is quite neat, I admit, but the whole set-up feels unnecessarily elaborate and, hence, tedious. I can’t imagine anyone finding it fun to watch the whole thing. Sure, if I were a sadistic monster with too much money, I may want to bet on this “game”, but I can imagine myself interested in watching the entire thing play out. It’s not that entertaining, especially since there isn’t any gore, nudity, or violence. Why not just throw them into an island and have them do a Fortnite on one another?
Still, the whole thing does make a pretty decent diversion, provided nobody is expecting anything more than another derivative Saw-wannabe thing. There is some decent build-up and dramatic tension, and Jay Ellis looks good without his shirt. We have all seen this one before in bits and pieces of other movies of similar nature, so I guess it’s just a matter of whether you want to see them again.