A horror film about an escape room that has actual danger and deadly puzzles is the kind of film premise that could really go either way. It’s an idea with a lot of potential, but exactly the kind of film that Hollywood tends to just mess up.
And once you get in to Escape Room it appears for a good while as though it’s succeeded. The first few rooms that the group go through have interesting puzzles and excellent designs, the group dynamics and interactions are cool, and the danger in the rooms is always well thought out to the character’s backstories.
But then the film starts to fall apart once we start getting answers. They’re just the most generic and boring answers we could get. There’s also a big character switch that it felt like didn’t really need to happen, and just helped derail the film.
There are some issues early on, the opening scene ends up being a big spoiler for a lot of what comes after. It is also not hard to know which of the characters will be dying first and are less important to the film, just through the choices the film makes early on.
The performances are solid across the board, although a couple of the characters are slightly annoying. The stand out probably being Deborah Ann Woll as war veteran Amanda, and Jay Ellis has plenty of charisma as trader Jason.
It’s a shame that Escape Room ends up descending into mediocrity and some of the more played out aspects of this kind of horror film because up until that point it had been incredibly enjoyable, and had been utilising its premise incredibly well. But in the end the direction the film takes will leave you feeling very disappointed.