Movies

‘Escape Room’ review: fleeting excitement

A still from ‘Escape Room’

A still from ‘Escape Room’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Adam Robitel’s thriller rarely but surely gets us to the edge of our seat but mostly we’re just reclining in anticipation

Watching Escape Room sets you thinking. It’s as if someone in Hollywood scratched their head raw to come up with something or anything for an original idea. What’s arrived at after much deliberation is a take on the worldwide sensation that has people scramble through clues to get out of a locked room. In Adam Robitel’s psychological thriller Escape Room, six seemingly unconnected and disparate people are locked together. There’s the burn-out Ben (Logan Miller); demure college student Zoey (Taylor Russell); geeky brown kid Danny (Nik Dodani) army veteran Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll); finance hotshot Jason (Jay Ellis); and middle-aged trucker Mike (Tyler Labine).

Escape Room
  • Director: Adam Robitel
  • Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani
  • Storyline: Six people compete for $10,000 in an escape room not knowing their lives are at stake

The six have received an invitation to play the game and the chance to win $10,000. At first, no one believes the threats they face could be real till someone (and you figure out instantly who) dies. Then it becomes yet ‘another one bites the dust’ kind of deal as they drop like flies. The premise is evidently not that original, borrowed from film series like Saw and Final Destination with the exception of an ‘escape room’ setting. Even the characters stay uni-dimensional. Take Jason’s aggression which perfectly complements his line of work. If you’re a successful trader or whatever his ambiguous job is, you can’t possibly be humble or dare we say, nice? Then army veteran Amanda must absolutely be suffering from PTSD because, well, war.

But Robitel does display flickers of ingenuity when keeping his audience on the edge of their seat in spite of us knowing who and how someone will die. The thrill and excitement may be fleeting but the chirp of crickets at every attempt of humour is not. With The Taking of Deborah Logan, Insidious: The Last Key and other films, Robitel has proven his track record with horror. Comedy – in this case, the entirely sarcastic kind – is not his strongest suit. When all the clues are solved, those that had to depart do, and the traumatic adventure is winding down, Escape Room’s climax is shockingly underwhelming. Worse still is the director’s inability to get to the end credits when it’s most needed.

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Printable version | May 23, 2020 10:08:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/escape-room-review-fleeting-excitement/article26160599.ece

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