Film: Escape Room
Cast: Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Logan Miller, Nik Dodani
Director: Adam Robitel
Rating: * * and a half
At the outset, I must confess I was terrified at the prospect of hapless individuals being bumped off one by one by malefic engineering. But then, Adam Robitel’s grim, terrifying immersive contest slides into shlock instead of shock.
Sad. Because the film starts off on a promising note with a motley group of characters with interesting backstories (scripted by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik) which can be summed up in a word: Traumatic.
Anyway, the group of six, lured by the promise of 10,000 bucks, takes up the challenge of incarceration in the titular room from which release can secured by solving puzzles where keys play a crucial role.
Those confined in the escape room include grocery worker Ben (Logan Miller), physics student Zoey (Taylor Russell), Iraq War veteran Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), stockbroker Jason (Jay Ellis) gaming enthusiast Danny (Nik Dodani) and portly Mike Nolan (Tyler Labine).
Clues are found in interesting places: a book (Fahrenheit 451) even as the room gets as hotter than an oven. Santa’s reindeer, which means death by freezing cold awaits an unfortunate. Nah. This isn’t a spoiler. The escape must be engineered from on-the-edge life and death situations even as the characters discuss solidarity, selfishness and accountability. The cast is talented. Who survives? Who doesn’t? The underwhelming finale ensures an exit as the end credits roll.