Plot: An assortment of strangers all receive mysterious black boxes, which turns out to be intricate puzzles. Once solved, the boxes open and reveal an invitation to a high end, exclusive escape room, promising an experience like no other. The invitation also includes a potential prize, as the first ones to solve the escape room will earn thousands in cash. As the group gathers in the waiting room, they make small talk and learn a little about each other. The dynamic is a diverse one, with people from all sorts of walks of life and skill sets, seemingly a good group to solve an escape room with. When it becomes clear the waiting room is in fact the first stage of the escape room and a the heat is turned up to unbearable levels, the group must learn to work together fast or face a quick exit from the challenge. But who is behind this mysterious escape room and is there more on the line than just the cash prize?
Entertainment Value: Escape Room is marketed like a horror movie, but plays like more of a suspense thriller with some light horror elements, so don’t expect a Saw inspired ride out of this one. The narrative is about what you’d expect from an escape room themed movie, no real surprises, but I do appreciate the obvious effort that went into at least trying to make the rooms interesting. Some of the puzzles made little sense, but most look cool and have good atmosphere, which helps keep the movie brisk and that is much needed here. I also like that the writers seemed to know the twists were a little weak, so they just pile them on and that spirals Escape Room into a convoluted mess at times, which I saw as a positive. But if you’re after a cerebral, razor tight thriller, that is not what Escape Room winds up as. The cast is fine and provides some colorful folks to run through the puzzles, though no one really stands out as memorable. This is more on the shoulders of the script than the cast, as it is obvious more effort went into the room designs than character development. In the end, this is a passable thriller that was a little too serious for my taste, given that running with the b movie elements could have upped the entertainment quite a bit. Even so, those who love the escape room premise should have some fun here.
No nakedness. This is a PG-13 thriller with no real opportunities for sleaze to sneak in, so no issues with the lack of skin. I’m sure Tyler Labine fans will be disappointed by the lack of a full frontal scene, however. The PG-13 rating also keeps the bloodshed reined in and while some mild red stuff can be seen, this one keeps the violence to a minimum and no gore is present. This makes sense however, as the movie is much more geared as a thriller than horror, despite the promotional materials. I’m sure those who go in expecting a horror movie in the Saw vein will be let down at the tame material, but this is aimed at teens, so it makes sense. The dialogue is pretty straight forward, but there’s some fun banter between the characters at times. I like dysfunction and drama, so I liked the arguments and pettiness, but there wasn’t enough of it or enough memorable lines to rack up many points here. No real craziness to speak of, Escape Room is predictable and never really veers off the expected course.
Overall Insanity: 0/10