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‘No Escape’ (2020) review: Unsubscribe and block

Content is king.

No Escape is definitely aimed at a certain demographic. The movie follows Cole (Keegan Allen) a social media influencer who has taken his show to Moscow. As he tries to put on the most extreme episode ever, Cole and his friends enter a dark world. The movie is filled with characters that are entrenched in the world of social media. The cast do a great job of playing influencers that can be found on YouTube and Instagram. No Escape never captures the feel of a stream, but the personalities are perfect.

This will be a very polarizing part of the film. Influencers have to be over the top to be noticed. This means in order to play their roles effectively, the cast also has to be extreme. Those who do not watch YouTube will probably dislike this aspect of No Escape. All the characters are very annoying. Early on, No Escape introduces the audience to its cast. They are all horror movie caricatures for the modern age. Each is only given surface level development. This means as things escalate, there is no emotional impact for anyone watching.

When characters do stand out, it is for all the wrong reasons. This is most obvious is Dash (George Janko). He is the annoying friend who cannot stay out of trouble. This type of character is seen in all types of films. Still, he is especially obnoxious in No Escape. This may be by necessity since the online world is filled with big personalities, but it becomes very grating.

There is nothing here that has not been seen before. The first act builds tension. This may be the most effective part of the movie as seen in a simple lunch between Cole and his nondescript girlfriend Erin. The next two acts see increasing stakes yet somehow are less interesting. This leads to a very predictable ending. Along the way, No Escape also pays lip service to the shallowness of internet fame. Much like the rest of the film, it never means anything.

No Escape is a cookie cutter horror movie. Taking together elements of better films from the genre, it comes across as little more than a copy. Fear of Russia, unnecessarily intricate death traps, and torture porn all make their way into the story. On the plus side, the plot never loses sight of what it is trying to do. But will anyone who is not a fan of influencers like it?

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