Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 4:25PM
The Artswire Weekly in Adam Robitel, Bragi F. Schut, Deborah Ann Woll, Escape Room, Film Reviews, Jay Ellis, Logan Miller, Maria Melnik, Nik Dodani, Reviews by Mateo Moreno, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine



Turning games into films have not had the best track record. Remember the big screen versions of BATTLESHIP? How about RAMPAGE? PRINCE OF PERSIA? Okay those are bad examples, but to be fair, there aren’t really many good examples. But the idea of turning the concept of an escape room into a low budget horror movie seems like an idea someone should have had years ago. So, it is puzzling that it’s just now happening. Director Adam Robitel, who was the man behind last year's Insidious: The Last Key, strikes his vision here with ESCAPE ROOM, the feature debut of the game we all love or hate. And for the most part, it’s a lot of fun, as long as you don’t think too hard about it.


A mysterious box shows up on the figurative doorsteps of six strangers: a withdrawn young student Zoey (Taylor Russell), a full of himself finance man Jason (Jay Ellis), an army vet Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), underachieving Ben (Logan Miller), everyday guy Mike (Tyler Labine) and a super fan of Escape Rooms Danny (Nik Dodani). Inside the box is a private invitation to try out the latest game room, which they all accept, for various reasons. Once they arrive in the waiting room, they realize they have actually begun the Escape Room, but quickly find out that this is unlike any other room out there. This one has real fire, real danger, and each room seemed aimed at one of their own personal fears or tragic things from their past. Each room offers separate but equal dangers and they must all work together to get through them. But being a horror movie, not all of them do and the thrill is to see how many of them can, indeed, escape.


There’s a lot to like in this small little horror gem, including some solid dark comedy and some really creative and fun to watch rooms. And the cast are all game, and rarely are the characterizations overtly annoying (the super fan is a bit much though). The final act of the film dives a bit too grand in my option; I honestly feel playing it a bit smaller would have done the film more justice. But it’s a fun ride with some really exciting and bizarre setups. And it’ll make you think twice about going back to a game room yourself. Because this is not a good advertisement for a night out with your friends



WRITTEN BY Bragi F. Schut, Maria Melnik DIRECTED BY Adam Robitel STARRING Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Nik Dodani. Now playing in select cinemas.
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