Escape Room (2019)

Find the clues or die.

Six strangers must use their wits to survive in this psychological thriller from the director of Insidious: The Last Key.

Trailers

Directed by

  • Adam Robitel('Insidious: The Last Key', 'The Taking of Deborah Logan')

Thriller

81mins

Rating: M Mature themes, violence and coarse language

USA

Over the last ten years or so, escape rooms have crept into the public consciousness, with tens of thousands of them popping up around the globe. Las Vegas plays host to one that’s modelled on the Saw franchise, and I can’t help but wonder if the makers of Escape Room have paid it a visit.

Sure, the traps here are much more PG-13-friendly than that gore-flecked series, but there’s a similarly claustrophobic feel to proceedings. Things get pretty rough, actually, with onscreen throttling, shooting & drowning among other nastiness. But by and large, the appeal is much the same as a real world escape room—solve some clues, open some locks, get out of there. The key difference here is our motley cast of characters is trying to avoid getting burned alive, and so on.

This is all pretty entertaining, but the glue holding things together in the early stretch is a series of ominous clues that the players are hiding some deep dark secrets, and just maybe there’s some grand plan at work. The film’s commitment to its ludicrous premise is admirable, but pretty silly in execution.

The real stars here are the set-pieces, and, as Flicks’ Liam Maguren pointed out to me after we saw it, the set design. There’s a huge room-oven, an ice cavern, an upside-down bar and more, and they’re all presented with style. Director Adam Robitel (he made one of the Insidious-es), knows how to crank up the tension, providing sufficient thrills along the way.

But things run out of steam soon after the film’s master plan comes into focus, and once we’ve sat through several redundant endings, it’s hard to remember much about Escape Room. Apart from those great sets.

Collider

press

Although it has some solid PG-13 thrills, Escape Room eventually overstays its welcome.

New York Times

press

There are intimations of "Tales From the Crypt," "Final Destination," "The Game," and other older, better films here; this movie never catches a fire like any of those did, and even its twist coda feels dreary and pro forma.

Variety (USA)

press

Even when these movies are good, they're pure carny contraptions. But next to the unevenly diverting trap-door convolutions of "Escape Room," something like "Deathtrap" begins to look like Chekhov.

Associated Press

press

The thing is, "Escape Room" isn't actually all that bad, just kind of silly, but it takes a moment to readjust your expectations after that condescending beginning, and a very phoned-in introduction to the unlucky six Chicago strangers.

Los Angeles Times

press

The amped-up psychological thriller "Escape Room" pretty much accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it fairly well.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

...the biggest puzzle of Escape Room is why they didn't spend a little more developing such a promising idea.

The Guardian

press

Nifty, nasty high-concept horror, with dabs of Saw and Final Destination.

Empire (UK)

press

Escape Room is like The Crystal Maze with more death. It's fun at the start then loses its way, but it'll do until 'Flossing: The Movie' comes along.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

Escape Room, despite some impressive design and few decent visual flourishes, ticks none of the boxes.