When a horror movie gets campy, you know it’s an obvious bad idea to start a sequel. “Escape Room” has an interesting “Saw” minus “Saw” premise (game of life and death without the torture porn) with people solving puzzles in order to escape, but it still somehow has to be the typical thriller with cheesy effects, unsupervised characters, and lack of originality.
As the film begins, we meet a variety of Chicago people, who were each given a puzzle box, which leads them to a building, where the winner will receive $10,000. They consist of a college student (Taylor Russell), a smoker (Logan Miller), a businessman (Jay Ellis), a PTSD-stricken soldier (Deborah Ann Woll), a trucker (Tyler Labine), and a video game expert (Nik Dodani).
The escape rooms they enter, include oven heaters, a winter environment, an an upside down man cave placed in an elevator. Beginning at Level 2, people start to die one-by-one. Ergo, they struggle to find clues to their escape. I mean: what else do they have to do?
My favorite level in “Escape Room” would be the elevator upside down man cave, where floor sections fall down at each failed attempt, and the music starts to annoy some of the players. I really just admire the ways they characters have to hang on for dear life. And the props, from the music records to the pool table to the bar (all of them upside down), look amazing.
The movie has interesting moments about some of the main players, where it turns out they have something in common, and I was charmed by the set designs. But somehow, this movie ended up being lame. It has to play “Hunger Games” when only one gets out alive, and “Saw” when rooms start to either explode or leave poisonous gases. It’s run-of-the-mill stuff that gets old and exhausting.
The only actors I liked were Miller, Ellis, and Labine, while others are either underwritten or overachieved. In fact, there’s a scene when the college student has to destroy the security cameras in one room in order to prove their dominance. She isn’t given the personal truth I was expecting.
Some of the special effects are cheesy, the ending looks forced, and the writing goes nowhere in particular. I want to remind you that it would be a bad idea to start a sequel, because they would either end up doing the same things or putting this nightmare to an end, and ergo doing the same things. Note the difference.