Escape Room ★★★

A group of seemingly disparate strangers in Chicago are invited to an office block for the chance to win $10,000 in an 'escape room' challenge - they soon realise the challenge is deadly and they are fighting for their survival. It's such a simple idea really, latching onto a hot trope in culture and games, that really lends itself to the movie form - the story pretty much writes itself. It reminds me a lot of the successful Saw movies, or even Final Destination - the audience knows there will be episodes within the story, where some characters will die along the way, leading to a conclusion that no viewer is really that bothered about. It's horror movie tropes placed in a much more formal structure - I find it very satisfying.

Okay, the huge problem here is that the beats of the drama are terrible - the characters simply act in incredibly frustrating and unrealistic ways to the challenges in front of them. In a timed room where indecision will simply lead to their death, they often interact in slow expository dialogue about their backgrounds or internal squabbles that simply make no sense at all. We don't need characters to emote or talk about their backgrounds to root for them - and there are much better ways of revealing character that don't involve awkward dialogue. It's so frustrating as all that the film really needed is an extra pass or two on the basic script, it's so easy to fix.

But, ultimately, I would argue that it doesn't matter too much to the film. The rooms all work okay, they're different enough to each other, and ultimately I think the viewer gets pretty much exactly what they should expect from a film like this. I enjoyed it. It's schlock, and even at its best I don't see how something like this could be better than a 7/10 anyway.

I guarantee there will be at least 4 sequels to this.