Movie Review: Escape Room (2019)

Synopsis: Six strangers accept invitations to participate in an escape room. They believe it will be a fun break from their lives. However, they quickly learn the multi-leveled challenge has deadly consequences if they fail.

Who's in it? The movie stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll and Nik Dodani.

Review: My wife and I ended up getting this movie on DVD through Netflix a few weeks ago but, thanks to a variety of distractions, didn't get an opportunity to watch it until this past weekend. After finally seeing it and taking a couple days to reflect, my opinion of it is a bit mixed.

At first glance, this is the type of thriller I would expect to enjoy, with a group of people facing certain death but still having a chance if they work together as a team and think things through. The problem was the film just didn't quite live up to its potential.

Part of the problem, I think, is there was a lot about this film that reminded me of the Saw franchise, with the victims being picked and the rooms being loosely based on something from their pasts. This, in itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, if you are going to borrow from a legendary film franchise, whether it is intentional or not, you run the risk of comparisons. And, in that head-to-head comparison, this film easily loses.

Also not helping this movie is the fact it never seems to create any sense of urgency. Simply put, the group of six had way too much time to solve their various locked room challenges. Instead of having just minutes to make a decision that would either move them on to the next round or result in their deaths, it felt as though they could have hashed things out over a game of Monopoly first.

This lack of urgency also wound up serving as an indictment on the victims themselves because, despite having all the time in the world and being in a position where they should have been on their guard after nearly cooking to death in the first room, they just kept doing relatively random things that made their situation worse even though there was no reason they couldn't be as cautious as possible.

I also was not a big fan of the ending, which seemed a bit dragged out and was an obvious attempt to set up a potential sequel. I would have much rather seen that time and effort put toward making this first movie a bit more memorable.

Final Opinion: Ultimately, it is the same basic concept as the Saw movies but lacks the ironic twists and the same level of intensity. It wasn't necessarily a bad movie, it just wasn't anything overly memorable.

My Grade: C


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