Escape and Riddle rooms are all the rage nowadays, with the idea designed to test your knowledge, your perseverance, and your teamwork in order to solve a series of puzzles and get out of a locked room within a certain time limit.
Escape Rooms have moved into spectacular themes to suit any type of puzzles, ranging from zombie rooms, steampunk style rooms, Egyptian tombs, magic and sorcerer's dens, and so many others. It's like being in your very own detective movie as your solve your clues.
Cool theme, interesting puzzles, locked in a room with no chance of escape? Sounds a lot like the Saw series.
So it was only a matter of time before someone turned it into a horror movie.
And that is exactly what the horror/thriller movie Escape Room feels like - a puppet-less take on Saw. The movie sees six strangers (True Blood's Deborah Ann Woll the most recognisable of the bunch) given mysterious black boxes with a puzzle-like invitation to an immersive escape room that promises buckets of money as a prize. Spurred on by greed and an opportunity to change their lives for the better, the group are locked in several rooms with extreme conditions and traps where they must discover the secrets of the rooms and fight to survive.
I thoroughly enjoyed Escape Room and by the end of the movie I was saying, "More! More!" I found it to be more intelligent and more visually pleasant than the Saw series, and with the violence turned down all the way it brought viewing back to the roots of having to rely on story line, characters, and intelligent screenplays rather than ridiculous visual affects or unnecessary gore. Instantly there are a few characters you are suspicious of, and the movie sucks you in straight away by introducing you to a main character at the point of their death, but soon the movie turns everything you thought about the characters on their heads.
The trap rooms are amazingly designed, starting with a room that turns into a giant oven, a cabin in the woods, a frozen wasteland, a hospital room, a trippy drug room, and an upside down bar. The riddles are intriguing and well-crafted, and each room is related to a hidden trauma held by each character which gives the movie another level of well-scripted intellect.
The ending might be a little too open, in an obvious hope for an Escape Room 2 (which I also truly hope for) but with the excellent series of events within the movie it would be a travesty if this excellent thriller/horror didn't get a sequel, and Saw walked away with yet another nine movies.
I give it four stars.
Escape Room is out in Australian cinemas everywhere from February 7, 2019