MOVIE REVIEW | “Escape Room”

By STACY BAUER & DAX HUGHES

Jimplecute Movie Reviewers

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Escape Room” has potential, but unfortunately, does not fully live up to it. My personal, first clue that things were going to go predictably wrong with this puzzle: I had never seen nor heard of any of these actors before.

While they apparently have parts on network television or shows created by television apps, none are recognizable, “big” names (but not to disparage their acting chops, all are quite good). The unknown aspect of the cast lends itself to the B-movie vibe, which may just be the appeal for some aficionados; I know at least a few of you out there must be looking for cult classics in the making.

I was excited with a PG-13 rating, knowing it would deliver high thrills and low gory details for myself and my youngish son. (Let’s be frank: A heart pounding, mind-bending thriller07 takes a lot more consideration than does easy, gratuitous blood and guts.) But Escape Room was also low on logic (ironically), and also believability. Six strangers are each sent a puzzle-box by someone they know and seemingly trust. Once solved, it invites them to an escape room, with the prize of $10,000.00 for the sole winner.

Personally, I was expecting a higher, more compelling figure. Is it bad I’m not that excited by 10k in real life? I really should be. This surely was missing at least another zero in movie-terms. I mouthed to myself “what is the point here?” but I digress. Each room “challenge” (drastic understatement here, it’s life or death every time, at every turn) has a different theme.

We’ve got 1. An intense sauna fire explosion (I’m not patiently) waiting room. 2. An arctic tundra polar ice caps room. 3. An upside down topsy turvy (not so) fun house room with the floor falling away, piece-by-piece. 4. A medical peril urgent care very-strangely-familiar room, all culminating in 5. A (showdown of a) warehouse, revealing, here’s-why-you- are-here room.

The “winner” is announced, and I doubt it’s whom you are expecting, based on characters’ aptitudes. Not everyone makes it out alive, which shouldn’t be a spoiler. In any typical game, there’s only one winner, but that’s not to say only one survived.

Tense, somewhat exciting execution ends in a disappointing, incohesive mess. Even the mom sitting one over from me, and I, instinctively exchanged puzzled glances when the credits started rolling. Participate at your own risk. Also, heed a seizure warning for one scene with severe strobe lights going off in a dark room.

“Escape Room” is rated PG-13 and runs 95 minutes.

 

 

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