Review: ‘Escape Room’ – A story about sadistic survival
Having skipped the original Escape Room, I was worried I’d have missed some crucial information going into this sequel. This seems to be an anticipated anxiety, as the first five minutes of the film are devoted to getting you up to speed. Previously on Escape Room, survivors Zoey and Ben are traumatised by their narrow getaway from the jaws of death. Haunted by nightmares of the walls closing in and armed with a righteous belief in bringing their torturers to justice, the two set off to find the truth behind the devious escape rooms and put a stop to them once and for all.
If it were only that simple. Instead, they find themselves caught in the fray yet again, this time with a brand new set of teammates, themselves veteran survivors of their own torture chambers. While the premise of a Tournament of Champions is intriguing, I was disappointed with how little the film did with it. With the exception of the main characters, most of the players in this film are either paralysed with panic or completely clueless.
While this makes for poor characters, it does give Tournament of Champions a healthy roster of expendables to show the full depravity of its sets. In just over 90 minutes, the film manages to expose you to a number of creatively designed and intriguing puzzle rooms for the characters to outmanoeuvre or die trying. Both outcomes are equally satisfying.
The traps themselves are absurd and given too much thought; they fall apart at the seams. The kind of coordination it would take to manifest the chain of events in this film could only exist in a screenplay. Still, their entertainment value is undeniable, as the survivors battle against an opponent that constantly changes the rules, with each impending trap covering the film with a shroud of futility. It’s a film with a lot of flaws that manages to make them into its greatest strengths. While it falls apart under scrutiny, thinking too deeply about it would only spoil the fun. Of which there is plenty to be had. It’s Saw meets The Hunger Games with a dash of The Omen, and it’s as good and as messy as that sounds. It’s best seen with a group of friends and a bucket of popcorn.
Rating: Half Price
Damian Levy is a film critic and podcaster for Damian Michael Movies.