Escape rooms are gaining in popularity these days and they seem to be popping up everywhere. I haven’t been to one yet and I might not ever go because I prescribe to the Bodhie philosophy of life. I don’t inch along on the freeway in a metal coffin so that I can work 40 hrs a week in a fluorescent box.
However, the concept of being locked in a room and relying on wits to get out appeals to a lot of humans who don’t have the opportunity to ignore their mundane existence. It’s about people with too much money and no really inspiring way to spend it. This is the basic premise of Director Will Wernick and Writer Noah Dorsey‘s latest effort, Escape Room (2018). Where a group of vapid rich yuppies from the Valley tries to spice up their overpriced lives by going to one of these escape games. Except, the escape room turns out to be a real death trap, orchestrated by a black-gloved mastermind.
Why the murderer spends all his time and money creating these deadly escape rooms is not explored in the film. The reason these rich kids were targeted was not factored into the writing, and the entire film seems to be missing a main idea or philosophy. In fact, the whole movie felt like it was thought up by a couple of weeded bros in an escape room who thought, “Dude, what if we made a movie about an escape room, except… it’s real?”
Actually, they did make a movie about that, it’s called SAW I, II, III, IV, V, VI….
The writer and director missed a real opportunity with this film. You have a group of people who don’t bat an eye dropping an insane amount of money on dinner and entertainment, and it is established early in the film that they are mind-numbingly predictable. Why didn’t the story flesh out these themes? Instead, we are left with a pile of tropes, who never actually grow or learn or do anything different before they are unimaginatively murdered. Therefore the characters fell flat despite the cast’s best efforts. I actually enjoyed some of the acting, but the writing seriously limited the performances.
Budget or production value aside, the reason SAW resonated with audiences is because it was about the harshness of sacrifice and the brutality of unpunished sins. Even if the audience is not explicitly aware of the moral of the story, they still understood it on some level. Escape Room didn’t add anything to this conversation, and that’s why it was disappointing.
In conclusion, Escape Room tries to capitalize on the growing popularity of a fad but misses opportunities to exploit the underlying reasons people participate in these games.
You can check out Escape Room on Google, Amazon, and iTunes on October 29th, 2018.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.