Cinemaster Score: 6/10
Escape Room doesn’t have many great things to say about it, but that doesn’t make it a bad film. It can be enjoyable at times, even with the somewhat boring characters on screen. It is suspenseful, yet its plot and script is easy to anticipate – and the direction lacks a distinct style. There are moments of good acting and occasionally some heart-racing scenes, but it’s undercut by the lack of character development and the predictability of its structure. Escape Room ends on an unsatisfying note as well, with none of the important questions being answered and none of the remaining characters fulfilling their arcs. Said ending leaves a sour taste in the mouth, especially considering the buildup that was maintained throughout the film. Escape Room is a movie made by an inexperienced cast and crew – from the actors all the way up to the direction. In that sense, Escape Room is at the very least well made, but also never more than the sum of its parts. Although, if you are looking for an entertaining time and little more, Escape Room is for you.
Acting; There isn’t much to praise about the acting in Escape Room – it’s serviceable at best. Given the relative inexperience of the cast, it’s surprising how well these actors hold their own. The cast includes Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis and Nick Dodani as our six main protagonists. While each actor does their best throughout, there are certain side characters who make the film much worse with their presence. The way some of them deliver their lines can be laughable at times, with the wrong kind of emotion for the given scenario. This doesn’t do much to detract from the acting as a whole, but it is noticeable in certain parts of the film. Overall, the performances given are well done and at least entertaining, making for an enjoyable experience.
Script; The way Escape Room is written can be defined with three words: Suspenseful. Inconsistent. Unsatisfying. To start off with the more positive aspect of Escape Room’s script – it does a good job of building suspense. It is essentially what holds the film together. The characters progressively reveal more about themselves and it builds the audience’s interest and holds it to keep you watching. Don’t expect “on the edge of your seat” suspense though, because it isn’t that great. The flick’s writing is also inconsistent with characters revealing some of their memories in flashback, and some of those memories change later. It was clearly an intentional decision for twists but it didn’t make any real impact on the remainder of the movie. The writing is good at best for Escape Room and the unsatisfying ending written is more concerned with a sequel than closure – leaving viewers in an escape room of their own with yet another Hollywood franchise.
Characters; The characters in Escape Room are what drive the film – if they weren’t interesting, we wouldn’t care if they survived or not. There are six main character, but only a couple stand out among them. Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell), Jason Walker (Jay Ellis) and Ben Miller (Logan Miller). These characters are the most fleshed out of the bunch, with more developed backstories and better personalities in general. While the rest of them were good in their roles, the remaining characters didn’t offer much in terms of relatability or uniqueness. Most (if not all) of them are quite one-dimensional and cliché, but as the story progresses they do become more well-rounded characters. Sadly, it takes much too long for the majority of them to become interesting – as those who are killed off early or are pushed to the side give us little to no reason to care for them. Altogether, the characters in Escape Room are not fully realized or particularly well-rounded. You may end rooting for some, if not all who are involved.
Direction; Escape Room is headed by comparative newcomer in directing, Adam Robitel. Robitel has directed only three features (including Escape Room) all in the genre of horror in some form or another. Other than that, Robitel has yet to really develop his own signature style. The only films on his résumé prior to Escape Room are supernatural flicks (Insidious: The Last Key and The Taking of Deborah Logan). In consideration of Robitel’s experience (or lack thereof), the film isn’t terrible. Robitel makes sure the suspense necessary is built and the film stands upright with its concept. However, the movie is only made unique by concept and is executed on just well enough to keep you watching and entertained. Robitel directs the movie but has no extra touch to give it some much-needed life.
Story; Although Escape Room has an interesting concept, its execution of the aforementioned concept is lacking in many areas. The plot revolves around a group of people who are invited to participate in an Escape Room. As they progress further and further, they discover that the escape rooms are becoming more deadly than the last and that the game is really a fight for their lives. There are many flashbacks and references to the characters’ past lives that are interjected throughout the film. These moments are noticeably different in tone from the majority of the plot, resulting in a disjointed story that struggles to balance its themes. On top of this, the story begins to lose steam by the end, failing to provide a satisfying conclusion to the movie. Escape Room does have an interesting attention grabber for a plot, but it never holds you for long and it leaves you wishing for more out of it.
Enjoyment; If you’re watching Escape Room for the premise alone, you’ll be pleased. If you’re watching it just to be entertained, you’ll also be pretty much fine. But if you go into Escape Room hoping for a grand experience with a great movie, you’re putting on the wrong flick. The problem with this movie in its enjoyment factor is that it simply isn’t very special. After one or two of the first rooms, the movie begins to become noticeably predictable. The characters aren’t relatable enough to form emotional bonds with. The reasoning behind why the escape room exists seems rushed once the explanation begins. To sum it up, Escape Room isn’t all that exquisite and the only likely reason for its remembrance will be the sequel(s) to come. Otherwise, Escape Room is a B-grade horror flick that relies on the “escape room” idea as its strongest component.
David: “I was caught mainly in the film’s suspense, but the concept had me expecting B-grade horror from the beginning. I wasn’t pleased by Escape Room and actually was left quite unsatisfied. It is a distasteful example of the Hollywood plague of franchises that traps so many moviegoers.”
JP: “Though I thought the premise was interesting, the way the plot unfolded was pretty predictable and not all that satisfying. I wish more experienced people made it, but it’s not terrible because of it. I thought it was a fun, easy to watch movie that many will have a good time watching.”