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Film Review: Escape Room (2019)

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SYNOPSIS:

Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms, and must use their wits to survive.

REVIEW:

Trauma, does it define us ? Does it make us stronger in the face of adversity ? Does it hinder us from accomplishing life goals ? What is the true nature of trauma and how does it affect our lives and the lives of the people around us ? Can Trauma truly be overcome ? These are some of the weighty questions asked in the new horror/thriller Escape Room from director Adam Robitel ( yes same Adam Robitel that directed the AWESOME The Taking Of Deborah Logan).

Escape Room begins with a bang as one of our main characters Ben ( Logan Miller from Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse) comes bursting into the room in a sweaty hurried panic, searching franticly around the room for the clue that will ultimately free him from this chamber. The room shakes , the floors rumble , and the walls begins to close in. Closer and Closer. Ben Screams. Fade to Black. Form here on we are introduced to our cast of characters ; the shy smart girl ( Taylor Russell , from the underrated slasher  Suspension), the rich C.E.O ( Jay Ellis from the hilarious and hugely underrated  Movie 43 ) , the lovable chubby guy ( Tyler Labine from Tucker and Dale fame) , the badass bitch (Deborah Ann Woll  from True Blood ) , and the smart nerd (Nik Dodani from the Murphy Brown reboot ).  We Follow our six main characters as they are thrust into various rooms designed to kill them in inventive and gruesome ways if they can’t figure out the hidden clues that will release them.  Each person has been carefully selected by an unknown force to participate based on his/her past , could this be the very key to unlocking the secrets of the Escape Room ?

The initial premise of Escape Room should sound familiar to both  genre aficionados and casual fans of cinema in general. It follows a well worn path that has been shaped by many filmmakers before , Saw and Cube being the two most well known examples. Escape Room isn’t trying to reinvent the formula that has been laid our in  previous efforts , it’s main goal is to tell an entertaining story , which it accomplishes in spades. Escape Room may not be the genre breaking film that blazes a new trail in the world of horror cinema but its a heulluva a lot of fun. Adam Robitel  and screenwriters Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik never let the proceeding become sadistic or mean spirited in nature, there is still plenty of violence to be had, but its done it way that winks at the audience and lets them know they are in for jolt.

Escape Room is like that first big dip on a roller coaster or the first big BOO in a haunted house, fun but never dangerous. The direction is crips and fast and the set pieces for each of the rooms is wildly inventive never repeating themselves or becoming redundant. I have heard mention that the ending has left a lot of fans with a sour taste in their mouths but I would have to heartily disagree with that sentiment. The last 15 minutes of Escape Room divulge into a whole new territory that opens up the universe created in an entirely new an refreshing way and leave the doors wide open for a followup ( which has already been greenlit ) If the filmmakers play their cards right I truly believe that this could be the next BIG annual franchise to take the crown that SAW laid down several years ago.

2019 thus far has been one of the absolute best years for horror and it all started off with a BANG in January with the release of Escape Room. If you’ve been avoiding this film because of the PG 13 rating you are doing yourself a great disservice and missing out on one of the most enjoyable thrillers to come down the pipeline is sometime. Trust me folks this is one fun ass flick. There’s a reason it made 151.8 million at the box office.

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