'Escape Room' is basically a set-up to get rid of six nondescript lone survivors through a series of life-threatening puzzles designed to test their survival instincts. Just swim with the tide, is all they ask.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy for the audience because the viewer has to constantly suppress the disbelief that springs up every time the participants go through haranguing moments that willy-nilly put their lives in peril.
These so-called 'live' reality game movies occupy a sub-genre of their own and Hollywood has been churning out quite a few of them following the Young Adult's obsessive fixation with material that encompasses it in entirety. But they are not all as thrilling or compelling as the first few that made it to hit franchise levels.
Check out the trailer here:
This is a far more dangerous version of the more recent spurt of high-risk Telly games and since we don't get to know or understand the participants' motives (other than the 10,000 dollar prize money) it's difficult to empathize or find a reason to pay attention to their trauma. The writers also use some uninteresting physics theory to justify the random six players' participation in a largely predictable schema of disjointed thrills. They are made to go from intense heat to intense
cold, then to a gas chamber, a space crusher and a few more vicarious routines before the winner can be decided.
While the production design is vivid, there's not much holding it together. Nik Dodani as nerd Danny, Jason Ellis as irritating yuppie Jason, Tyler Labine as trucker Mike, Deborah Ann Wolf as the tough, capable war vet Amanda, Logan Miller as a young alcoholic Ben and Taylor Russell as a withdrawn college student Zoey put in imminently indistinct, forgettable performances. The writing is largely formulaic too and the helming lacks serious edge. There's really nothing here to hold your attention for the near 100 min runtime.