Not the worst room.
Synopsis: Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive. (IMDB)
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, and Jay Ellis
Writers: Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik
Director: Adam Robitel
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 100mins
You’ve probably seen some of the trailers and/or any of the other promotional material so it’s only natural to have some sort of expectations for this film. For some reason, escape rooms are a thing so it only makes sense that a film is made that involves them. While Escape Room may look ridiculous and it is, if you set your expectations accordingly, there may be some fun to be had here. At its core, that fun comes from its ridiculousness. However, ridiculousness does come with problems that many will be unwilling to overlook but none of them should really come as much of a surprise anyway.
The story here of course involves an escape room, a few of them actually. For whatever reason, six strangers (they never become more than that over the course of the film) found themselves locked in a series of escape rooms that they would have to solve in order to survive. Those looking for any character development may be disappointed here as none of the characters seemed to matter in the least, prioritizing some over others in a very unsubtle way. Each had their own backstory and baggage that would inevitably figure into the plot but the film handled them in such a lazy way that it was hard to care about any of them. While their outcomes were fairly clear from the beginning, the film was still somewhat entertaining to watch despite its predictable nature.
The story also doesn’t provide much in the way of answers to tie everything together in a satisfying way. The dialog was mediocre at best (and occasionally cringey) but the camaraderie shown between the strangers was fun to watch despite the fact the story consisted of pretty much playing each of the cliched characters off of each other in such a contrived and predictable way that it only alleviated any emotional impact. When it was just about a group of strangers trying to solve escape rooms, it was okay though when the story suddenly tried to be more than that, it faltered while stumbling towards the finish. In fact, the story doesn’t even end with this film, ending with a cliffhanger for another potential film to finish the story.
For a film called Escape Room, the escape rooms here did not disappoint although the film could have gone further. There’s only so far it could have gone with its PG/PG-13 rating but it would have been nicer to have seen it embrace its similarities to the SAW series. The rooms present in the film were inventive with their design, however, the film could have used them more than it did here. Though watching the strangers solve the different escape rooms was fun to watch, there was little tension or any sense of danger to be had. Despite the mediocre writing and nonexistent characters, the acting was still okay across the board as their chemistry made up for many of the film’s problems. No one actor stood out, however, everyone was solid here.
Overall, Escape Room was a decent albeit predictable thriller with nonexistent characters, terrible dialog, and a ridiculous story but was still somehow enjoyable thanks to its cast. However, if you can ultimately turn your brain off and overlook its ridiculousness, you may even enjoy it too.