Entertainment » Movies

Escape Room

by Derek Deskins
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 30, 2019
Escape Room

An escape room as a horror concept isn't something entirely fresh. Before we as a society decided that escape rooms were something that we needed in our reality, they existed as online games that had a proclivity for a bit of darkness. So it wasn't a surprise to see "Escape Room" hit theaters. And neither was it a surprise just how generic the resulting film came to be.

Six strangers meet in what appears to be a corporate waiting room. They've all been brought here for seemingly the same purpose: To compete for a $10,000 prize. All they have to do is be the first in the room to escape. But while the escape room seems to be the only thing tying the six together, they soon find out that they have more in common than they first believed.

The initial premise of "Escape Room" may be simplistic, but it is certainly ripe for some thrilling storytelling. There is something intrinsically unsettling about escape rooms, in which people willingly have themselves secluded in a small room and entrust strangers (typically, some kind of undergraduate acting student) with their safety. Usually, the biggest risk you run is finding out that you're the dumb friend, but the nefarious easily lingers around the fringes. "Escape Room" unfortunately doesn't seem to really want to go into an exploration of this. Instead, it's content to be a "Final Destination"/latter-day "Saw" ripoff, and that's pretty disappointing.

Very little effort is afforded to the actual story of "Escape Room." There is some large unseen organization, a series of puzzle boxes, and then the actual escape rooms. The connections between the characters and the greater plans of this evil corporation are thrown at the movie as afterthoughts, in some attempt to legitimize the time that you've wasted with it. It is clear that character development and plot were not the concern of the filmmakers. They just wanted to make a whole bunch of architecturally diverse and detailed escape rooms. On this front, they are absolutely successful, as the rooms in the film are the most interesting and well-executed part. If "Escape Room" were just some feature-length commercial for the most meticulous chain of escape rooms ever, then it might be onto something. But as an actual movie, it is largely a failure.

The Blu-ray release of "Escape Room" is as generic as its own execution. There are a handful of deleted scenes, an alternate opening and ending (which are essentially just two more deleted scenes), and then a few featurettes. The deleted scenes do reveal that editing isn't the reason that the movie falters; all of the scenes are a mess. As the film's greatest success is the design of its titular escape rooms, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a featurette on developing these designs ("Games, Set, Match") is the most engaging item on the whole release. One thing is clear from the Blu-ray release of "Escape Room," at no point did anybody really think that this was going to be an actual good movie.

"Escape Room"
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD


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