Horror movies often do what they say on the packet. Often chucking in a twist or two but more often than not you know what to expect by looking at the poster. My expectations about a film called “Escape Room” were fairly minimal given that the synopsis was what you’d expect (people in an escape room that turns deadly). Pairing that with the director of the ok Taking of Deborah Logan and the terrible Insidious: The Last Key – Adam Robitel, all I expected was a classically average horror movie that i’d enjoy on the same brainless level that I enjoy most classically average horror movies (which is quite a lot – I love horror in all its forms). I am delighted to say that Escape Room turned out to be a surprisingly above average movie.
Storyline wise – it is what it you’d expect. A group of strangers are all flung together, each presenting pretty typical horror movie personalities, in an escape room that turns deadly. Each room they enter presents them with a series of puzzles and riddles to solve and if they survive said room then they find themselves faced in another unique room with its own set of challenges. The first thing that stands out about Escape Room is the set design. Each room is thoroughly unique and interesting with brilliant design elements. From a room that basically turns into the inside of an oven to a bar and pool room that is completely upside down. The way in which each of these rooms has been crafted provides eye catching and compelling settings throughout.
As the movie progressed it became clear that unlike a lot of movies of the genre, this was foregoing cheaper jump scares, ultra-violence and gore for tension and atmosphere. On the whole this works strongly to the films advantage, allowing the film to travel along the lines of intriguing thriller with horror elements instead of relying on too many typical horror tropes. The script, whilst cliche to a point and with a less than overwhelming twist, is engaging and interesting enough to provide 99 minutes of exciting storytelling. The actors all do a decent job portraying their respective character types and thanks to these performances we care more about the characters survival and relationships than we often do when watching these sorts of popcorn flicks. By focusing more on the story than the gore, Escape Room provides an exciting and nerve wracking film that even the more squeamish film fans can enjoy.
While certainly not groundbreaking by any means, Escape Room is a fast paced, interesting and engaging movie with some beautiful set design, tense atmosphere and a few laughs, which results in providing a pretty decent hour and half of entertainment.
– Ashton Brown