Sometimes there is room for a low-key thriller that fills the time and leavings one with nothing but a “well I watched that” sort of feeling. Such is the experience when watching Adam Robitel’s Escape Room.
The story of six strangers finding themselves in dangerous life-or-death circumstance is a teenage screamer trope and this adventure is the quintessential PG-13 version of Saw. It has stereotypical characters, traps that place the chosen traumatized victims in a bind and a mysterious overseeing figure who’s pulling all the strings. It’s a lot of the same, but credit to the crew for making Escape Room a bit better than it has any right to be.
Zoey Davis and Ben Miller play the two main characters, Taylor Russell and Logan Miller. Taylor is a young scientific wizard whose struggles in public settings to express herself. Logan is a smoking grocery store worker who’s struggling to make it back on his feet after committing a horrid mistake. There are four more people in the Escape Room with the two, and it’s a matter of them all getting along and working together for survival.
There isn’t a ton more to Escape Room. It’s a super simple premise and it’s up to the parties involved to make it work.
In terms of the traps themselves, there is one that genuinely incredibly well shot and very clever. The third room the group has to escape is a billiard room where everything is inverted. The upside down nature allows for some creative shots and Robitel takes full advantage. The majority of Escape Room isn’t remarkably memorable cinematography, which is not a bad thing, but this environment puts the whole experience just over the average Mendoza line.
Escape Room is predictable popcorn entertainment that’s perfect to throw as background noise or a universal crowd pleaser. It has some humor, some thrills and an ending that appeases the audience. Personally, I also enjoyed it more so than I thought because it has the talents of Tyler Labine from Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and Deborah Ann Woll of Daredevil and True Blood recognition.
I’d recommend Escape Room for an escape. Plain and simple, it passes the time in a wonderfully brian-numbing way.
Stanko Rating: C+