'Escape Room' (2019) Movie Review

Updated on May 30, 2019
John Plocar profile image

I've never been in an escape room before, but if it's anything like this... not for me.

Escape Movie

Look, I went into Escape Room seeking mindless entertainment that could maybe supply an intense moment or two with some creative puzzles to watch unfold. That’s more or less what I got and I’m totally fine with that. I had a good time with this movie. I won’t go as far as to say it was great by any means or perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a fun ride. Simple as that. Escape Room is a perfectly serviceable hour and a half sit to escape for a bit while we watch this small group of colorful characters interact off of one another as they go through multiple stressful deadly puzzles.

The Plot

Six strangers accept an unusual invitation to attend a special escape room event. Soon they find themselves trapped within a maze of deadly mystery rooms that they must all combine their wits in order to survive.

Simple Yet Effective

The plot is simple, extremely familiar, yet still effective. Yes, we have seen this premise done before and arguably executed better in other films such as the Cube and Saw series’. However, Escape Room still manages to be an enjoyable thrill ride. There was no need for anything groundbreaking to be attempted, the movie clearly wanted to entertain its audience with some interestingly designed death rooms, that’s all and it pretty much succeeded at that. Were there certain aspects that fumbled a bit? Yes, definitely. For the most part, the movie knew exactly what it was and it did not try exceeding that… until the last five minutes, but I’ll get to that soon enough.

The Rooms

The lethal puzzle rooms themselves, I would say, are the coolest part about the whole movie. I will do my best not to spoil too much, but I will be touching on some of the obstacles that our protagonists face within this crazy maze they’re stuck in. There are a handful of rooms with unique qualities about each that stand out from one another; a room that basically turns into a giant oven cooking the characters alive, a snowy cabin in the woods inside freezing cold temperatures, an upside down pub, a hospital room soon to be filled with toxic gas, an trippy LSD room that looks like an early ‘90s music video, and a library that collapses upon itself. My personal favorite is probably the LSD room with a close second being the upside down pub, both being the most visually pleasing as well as containing some of the most intense sequences in the whole film. On the other hand, my least favorite is probably the hospital room, only because dying by a toxic gas at that point is relatively underwhelming in comparison to what the movie had already presented to us prior.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

All of the rooms were all particularly cool to explore as they slowly revealed their deadly intents and all of them felt as though they served a purpose. Even my least favorite death room provided a reason for existing as it gave some necessary backstory on a few of the characters that we had been following for a while up to that point. Was it especially deep backstory? No, but it did its job and gave me a little extra insight on a couple of characters that I was engaged by. Which, I also appreciated the fact that it was somewhat unpredictable as to who would survive and who would succumb to these intricate murderous enigmas. There are characters that I was truly invested in and had my fingers crossed that they would make it out alive, sadly most of the characters I grew to like did not last. Which, I would say, is a positive and a negative about this movie.

The Characters

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Almost all of the cast does a great job, there isn’t too much of a weak link amongst the group here. Although I will say that the least interesting character and possibly the dumbest character does get on my nerves slightly, but he doesn’t last all that long and is taken out pretty early on. I won’t say as to who this character is or describe as to how he irritated me since that would be a pretty big spoiler, but I will say that he is the first to go and I was pretty relieved when he bit the dust. Everyone else though I was intrigued by in one way or another. The two characters that I was most drawn by were that played by Deborah Ann Woll and Tyler Labine; both wildly different characters, but they brought such charisma, depth, and/or humor into their performances that I was rooting for them from their very introductions. Woll had a way of expressing her emotions with a simple glance from her eyes that really gripped me, while Labine was such a likable personality that I was charmed by from the second he uttered his first line.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tyler LabineDeborah Ann Woll
Tyler Labine
Tyler Labine
Deborah Ann Woll
Deborah Ann Woll

A personal gripe that I do have with the film is that a couple of the characters, like I described, are fairly lovable and are downright some of the most interesting that this film has to offer yet the focus is mainly on probably the least interesting or complex characters. I would love to have been able to delve deeper within Labine’s and Woll’s characters, unfortunately those explorations are shortly lived. Not to say that they don’t make it through the whole movie, but they had the most potential for development that seemed rather wasted because the movie took favor over to the characters played by Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, and Jay Ellis instead. These three weren’t bad, not by a long shot, I just had two other characters that I would have preferred to have gotten more attention and disappointingly they didn’t.

A Cliché That Surprisingly Worked Out

There is a cliché in films that I do not much care for and am quite frankly sick to death of seeing. That being the opening scene where the movie starts off with a suspenseful sequence only to cut to black with a prompt reading, “Three Days Earlier”. I hate that cliché with every fiber of my being and cannot stand when most movies do that anymore. Can that trope work still? Yes, I’ve seen it work before where I thought it flowed just fine and maybe even contributed to the narrative in some way. Most of the time it is used as a lazy excuse to force in an action beat to ‘grip’ the audience early on before it gets into the actual story, only to waste our time and basically spoil its own story so we feel no sense of danger on the way to that specific plot point. In this case, I am surprised to say that this is one of those rare occasions where it actually worked. Not to say that it was genius writing, but it actually did provide a cool and intense opening scene while still leaving more to witness when it comes back into play later. It also was able to let the movie flow better in its third act as it didn’t have to focus on this scene that was shown in the opening as much so it could follow along what was happening elsewhere, which I appreciated. This was a decent touch that I wasn’t expecting to work out, but I’m happy to report that it did. Good job, Escape Room. Good job!

The Bad

Like I said, this isn’t a perfect film. There are criticisms that I do have, whether it be the clunky exposition dialog in the first act or the occasional poor CGI from time to time. Most of that is honestly forgivable and I was able to easily look past all that. The more glaring issues I found were mainly in the film’s third act. It is going to be difficult not to spoil the ending, but there are major problems in the last fifteen minutes that I feel that I must at least acknowledge.

There are a pair of surviving characters that make it through the entirety of the killer maze, once one of them makes it out though, things get odd. What is waiting at the end of all this seems so half-assed that it doesn’t even feel like it’s a part of the same mystery corporation that designed these escape rooms. Just a guy in front of some monitors that is there to explain everything. It felt as if the writer was running out of time on the script and quickly pulled things out of his ass at the last minute. Then when it goes on even further with what happens after the surviving pair get away, it gets real dumb. Somehow it is all up to these two characters to take down this secret organization as they have no real plan. Then for five minutes it cuts to what feels like the opening of what Escape Room 2 would be, making the surviving couple seem even more idiotic for attempting to fight these villainous people with no plan or backup. Cuts to black and the credits roll. I apologize if I’m either being too vague on the details or if I’m revealing too much, but it was an extremely lackluster finale on what was mostly a solid little flick.

Overall

Setting aside my qualms with Escape Room, I still had a decent watch with this one. There are intense sequences, cool visuals, solid acting with interesting enough characters, and that’s all I really wanted out of it. The few times the film tries stretching beyond its limits I do feel that it stumbles a bit and there are moments of exposition that aren’t remotely necessary, but for the most part it is a fun ride. Take it as it is and you should be satisfied. Will it make my ‘Best of 2019’ list? No. I don’t need a movie to be greatness in order to enjoy it though. Would I prefer to watch Cube? Abso-f*cking-lutely! Escape Room is still fine though, why not go with it? I’ve seen far worse in my life, such as some of the Cube and Saw sequels that warrant more anger than Escape Room so I’m totally content with this.

Escape Room

That’s All Folks!

Escape Room. It’s Escape Room. Not much more to it than that. What did you think though? Did you like or dislike my review? Agree or disagree? Have your fingers crossed that I’ll be set on fire? Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a puzzlingly good day. A day so confusing, it’s good!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 John Plocar

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • John Plocar profile imageAUTHOR

        John Plocar 

        2 months ago from Weatherford

        If you are in search of a movie with creative death scenes, 'Escape Room' really isn't going to do it for you. This is pretty understated in terms of when a death occurs onscreen. This will not have any of the gore or bloody mayhem seen in any of the examples that you had listed. This is PG-13 and so there isn't a whole lot harder material to witness. Not necessarily a bad thing, it's simply a film that doesn't set its focus on gore is all. It has a slightly different tone from 'Saw' and 'Cube' that relies more on the enigmatic elements of their rooms rather than what bodily harm can be caused to our characters.

      • Sam Shepards profile image

        Sam Shepards 

        2 months ago from Europe

        Going to watch this one, probably because I did like the saw series and the original cube. I also did enjoy things like Don't Breathe. Mostly rooting for creative deaths instead of survival/escape. Don't know if that's the point for these kinds of movies. For me, that started with Final Destination when I was a teenager or something. :)

        By contrast, movies like Halloween that I saw when I was way too young, I would always hope for resolution or death of the villain, probably because I was very scared.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)