I absolutely love a good escape room movie. Escape the Field obviously is not exactly an escape room movie, but, well, a movie about a group of strangers who mysteriously find themselves in a field, with no idea how they got there, and they have to figure out how to try to get out (rarely is the title of a movie so very explanatory). They’re each given a tool that we can presume will help them as they make for their escape.
Escape the Field doesn’t try to hide its derivative nature: we’ve already got movies like In the Tall Grass, the Escape Room movies, Follow Me, the Saw franchise, the Cube franchise — the list goes on – they’ve all got similar premises, but each are entertaining and creative in their own right. If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of movies like this, no matter how many you’ve seen.
As is to be expected with thriller movies of this particular ilk, Escape the Field has a diverse cast of six characters who’ve never met before, and each will serve their own purpose in their quest to make it out alive. Shane West plays the ultra-macho man Ryan who steps into the leader role, and Jordan Claire Robbins stars as Sam, the group’s practical-minded nurse. Elena Juatco is Denise, the most paranoid of the party, convinced it’s a government experiment that’s landed them in the field.
Shane West’s performance is unfortunately laughable, as he leans a little too hard into the macho-boss-man/army-vet thing. The rest of the cast balances him out, as no one else is over-acting quite like he is. Some of his lines are also pretty terrible, and it seems he wasn’t given the best material to work with. I don’t think there’s really supposed to be any comic relief in this movie, but Shane West sure does provide it.
The best character dynamic is between Sam and Tyler (Theo Rossi). He and Sam are the most grounded and relatable of the cast, and it’s easy to hope that they will be the two to make it out alive (and hope that they don’t fall in love, because this movie does not need one more expected plot point).
The first half of Escape the Field is very predictable, as the group accuses each other of putting themselves in this situation and they wander around in circles. Despite the fact that each member of the group was given a different tool, it isn’t until almost halfway through the film’s 88 minute run-time that Sam realizes that there’s a puzzle to this field that they have to solve. By this point, hopefully you’re still paying attention.
Escape the Field has a number of moments where you’ll feel more like you are watching people solve an escape room puzzle than watching a horror movie. The elements of horror and suspense are too few and far between. There are a few jump scares and truly creepy moments, but it’s not enough to keep you invested in solving the mystery along with the group. Most of Escape the Field’s horror comes in the final acts, as the film jumps into its only real action sequences.
Escape the Field doesn’t bring much new-ness to the litany of escape room films out there, but it’s worth watching for enjoyers of the genre. If you’re a fan, add this to your list — but you might want to wait until it’s available on streaming services. Emerson Moore’s directorial debut may be setting itself up to be another series of escape room films, and I, for one, wouldn’t mind that at all.
Escape the Field premieres digitally, on demand, and in select theaters on May 06, 2022.
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