And just like that… 2019 is here and with a new year comes new movies. Traditionally, the start of a new year doesn’t promise greatness in the film industry, given that January is considered by some as Shitty Movie Month. Knowing this, I had my worries about Escape Room, but the trailers looked really cool and I thought the concept had a lot of potential. While it’s true that there is a good bit of potential with the plot of this film, little is put to good use.
The film starts off by introducing the main characters to us, well three of them. The introductions we get to them are about as stereotypical as they can be. We identify who’s a jerk and who’s nice right off the bat. In a better film, there would be some mystery left as to what their true character is, but it’s all spelled out pretty simply here. Even though that is very cheesy and could’ve been done better, I can live with that because it’s only the very beginning and the real meat hasn’t hit yet. So after we get past the initial introduction, we have all our characters in the escape room and the real plot begins to kick in. The dialogue that ensues when they all meet one another is all set up to establish what kind of person they are and most of it is pretty flat, with only one or two amusing lines.
Once they realize what’s happening and the heat gets turned up so to speak, it actually starts to get entertaining. The ways the rooms are designed is pretty clever and cool looking, and the acting improved once the action started. It was at this point that I thought I would end up liking the film, because it was serving up some good thrills and interesting situations for the characters to get out of. But getting my hopes up was a mistake because it’s not too long after this that the film begins its descent into ridiculousness. I figured we would see each one picked off as it progressed, wondering who it would be next, but strangely a different path is taken. The path they choose to go with cuts things short and is much less interesting. As the film moves into the final act, I was thinking is this gonna be it? I soon realized that yes that was it and felt disappointed.
The ending is just bonkers, and leaves you feeling like a big opportunity was wasted. The only quality this film possesses exists in the middle, the few rooms they go into and attempt to escape from are the only scenes where you feel entertained. But to be honest, even those scenes are just okay, nothing I’d advise anyone to go out of their way for. The acting is the best when they are all trying to escape the rooms, but overall it’s just average. In the beginning, there are a few moments in particular where I cringed a bit at the performances. There’s really only one actor in this film I liked at all times and that’s Deborah Ann Woll, she did a good job.
The biggest sin though is for sure the sloppy, thrown together ending. You have to stick the landing and give viewers a good pay off when it comes to this type of film, but here they wrap things up so lifelessly that you leave not caring. I can’t advise this film because by the time the credits roll, you’re sitting there thinking: “what a wasted opportunity…”. Oh and while there’s a couple characters you root for and will like, there’s one character that is just endlessly irritating… to the point you might just be rooting for him to bite the dust.
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