Escape Room movie review

Movie review of Escape Room (2019) directed by Adam Robitel

Megan’s Review

Not even five minutes into the new Escape Room movie, directed by Adam Robitel, my heart rate jumped to 95 beats per minute, calculated via my lovely Apple Watch, and no, that’s not sponsored. This number might not seem like much of a jump; but my resting rate that day averaged 58 beats per minute. Needless to say, the new drama/mystery movie started off great, and I am pleased to say it stayed that way.

As someone who loves horror and thriller movies, I tend to be very critical when watching these kinds of films. Of course, naturally, there are some parts of the film I wish were better, or have some noteworthy comments on, so here is your spoiler alert. I repeat, SPOILER ALERT. Do not read further if you prefer to not know what occurs in the film.

The most noteworthy critique I have has to do with the ending. The game master says, “Let’s play again.” If you know anything about any good thriller movie, you would know this is eerily similar to what is said in the Saw movie series, where they say things about playing a “game.” Now this might just be me being overcritical, however, the fact it is said with an accent at the end of Escape Room makes it sound as though the game master is saying “a game.” Phonetically, it sounds like “Let’s play a-gain,” yes there is a space between “a” and “gain,” as if the game master is talking of the Gain laundry detergent.

Besides the knock-off Saw line, the movie contained themes also prominent in the Saw movies: players of the game, or I guess the people in the escape rooms, are all fighting to out-live one another after figuring out a series of puzzles to get to the next room or level. I love the premise of the movie, it was just too eery watching it and feeling as though I already knew what was to happen because I have seen all the Saw movies.

Despite the obvious similarities between the two movies, Escape Room is one of the best mystery/thriller movies I have seen in quite some time. The movie left me anxious, more than usual, appalled, and with a new mindset. I hate to say it, but the way Mr. Hall feels about The Matrix is how I felt after watching this movie. I came out of the theater second guessing my entire existence: what if my whole life I have just been locked in an escape room and each level consists of new realities? Okay, no I didn’t; but I was stuck in a strange mindset after the movie, and for that, I applaud Adam Robitel.

At certain moments throughout the movie, Jenna and I ended up grabbing hands out of stress and anxiety: it was great. To be so drawn into a movie is a great thing, and I am very impressed with the contents of the film.
The escape rooms within the movie–hospital rooms, a cabin, a freezing winter, a human-sized oven, etcetera–all aligned with a disaster the characters had faced in their life, a detail I found to be very interesting. All the characters were part of a very small statistic: lone survivors. To make the movie centered around lone survivors who have to fight against one other to be the lone survivor is quite the attention holder. All these details, though, were not explicitly explained to the audience at one time, it was as if the audience was in some kind of Hansel and Gretel simulation, following the little breadcrumbs the movie director left along the way to lead to main plot points.

I would definitely see this movie again. Escape Room is one of the best thriller movies I have seen in at least the last three years. It took me on a roller coaster of emotions: fear, anxiety, sadness, anger. One of the main questions I was left with, however, was, “Am I going to want to participate in the escape room that will be held during the senior all night party?” To this question, I have no answer. I have yet to partake in an escape room, and the idea of being locked in there until one of my great friends die is not something on my bucket list. Although that is an absolutely absurd thought, I may or may not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this movie. In no way would I say this movie was overrated, but is it Megan and Jenna approved? Look to the end of the story to find out.

Jenna’s Review

I have never attempted an escape room for myself, and while I imagine those rooms to be quite challenging in nature, I feel the movie Escape Room has more than equipped me for any puzzle I could be faced with as well as left me terrified to ever step foot out of my house. I went into the theater without ever having watched the trailer–everything I saw came as a complete surprise: plot, visuals and all. On that note, this is your spoiler alert. This is me ringing an obnoxiously loud iPhone alarm in your ear at full volume to remind you to stop reading if you don’t care to know what happens before you see the movie for yourself. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Immediately following the introductory credits, the movie came charging into the theater full force. While most movies in the horror and thriller genres tend to slowly build into the apex over time, Escape Room began with a little piece of the end, leaving the viewer to feel as if they knew something the characters didn’t from the very start–there’s no easing into this movie. The very first scene consists of a battered and crippled man entering a seemingly harmless, distastefully decorated room–this man is soon introduced as Ben Miller. The room converts to a large vice, steadily closing in on Ben as he tries to escape by cracking the room’s code. Just as it seems he’s toast, the scene ends. This decision sets the tone for the rest of the film in a rather unique way.

In retrospect, there were many seemingly genius decisions made during production of the film that all worked together to make it feel well done and thought out. No detail was left untouched, and no creative thought was spared.

Each character involved in the series of escape rooms possessed drastically different traits than the last, allowing for the typical tension and division among a group seen in many different films before this one. As time progresses, little hints are scattered throughout the characters’ experiences as well as the rooms themselves, which give an idea of their past, and the viewer can begin piecing things together bit by bit. These seemingly random and harmless rooms turn out to be neither random nor harmless–each is tailored to fit the traumatic experience of each player. By room number four, the characters are put into a room where each of their individual experiences are highlighted, and they discover they were each the lone survivor in their traumatic pasts. This detail felt like a sort of epiphany, and I’ll admit I got chills as I could begin to piece together details without coming to a real conclusion–at least, not until this scene.

The beginning of the movie, the details, the characters, and the creative twist on the increasingly popular trend of escapes room all work together to keep the movie engaging all throughout. As a lover of the horror and thriller genres, I usually am able to spot a cliche and/or typical approach to a plot; most movies fall short of leaving me with the same interest as I started with as they twist the plot in a way that misses the mark. Escape Room, however, left me feeling anxious, relieved, excited, angry, scared, and just as intrigued as I was the first scene. I have never been more–literally–on the edge of my seat for such a long period of time during a movie.

But just HOW good was it? Did Megan and I like it all that much? Do we recommend it? Keep reading…

Final Thoughts/Rating

For being rated PG-13, this movie is neither overly graphic and profane, nor is it family friendly (seriously, don’t let the kids see this one). It hit the mark almost perfectly, and we were left immediately wondering when the sequel would be out. So…

Yes, this movie is absolutely Megan and Jenna approved. Five out of five stars for this one. Go see it.