by Lindsay Wong
‘Escape Room’ is a 2019 psychological horror-thriller film that might freak you out from doing escape rooms ever again. It is about a group of six people who are sent to do the most difficult escape room in Chicago for a prize of $10,000. If they are unable to solve the puzzles in the rooms, they die.
The audience will be immediately hooked once the group is locked in the first room. It is clear that there are evil intentions behind the Gamemasters when the first room literally tries to cook the characters when walls and pillars of the room heat up and start to close in on them. The intricate settings really captured my attention. As they progress through the challenges, the subsequent rooms only get trickier. After the oven-baked room, they encounter an icy atmosphere, an upside-down billiard room, a hospital ward, an optical illusion room and a shrinking library. My favourite was the optical illusion room because the distortion of the characters’ faces were hilarious.
I was fascinated by the puzzles that the characters had to solve. Usually, to progress to the next room, you would have to look through every little detail in the room to find potential clues. However, the answers to the puzzles were rooted into the characters’ own lives. They had to recall past memories to solve the riddles they were confronted with. Any wrong move would result in death.
Ultimately, it was the miscommunication between some of the characters that killed them – they did not have effective teamwork skills to solve the puzzles; they spent more time arguing than cooperating with each other. This film proves that you can’t just place six strangers together and expect them to successfully complete complicated puzzles as a team.
Although the film features impressive sets and special effects, the plot and ending are familiar and predictable. I was reminded of ‘Final Destination’ and ‘The Game’ while watching this. The characterisation wasn’t great either, as only half of the characters were given extensive back stories while the other half were given very little back story – almost like side characters.
Nevertheless, ‘Escape Room’ is the perfect film for thrill-seekers. The rooms are cleverly constructed so that even though you aren’t participating in the puzzle-solving, there is enough suspense in the story to keep you on edge. The film is also set up for a potential sequel, so you can look forward to more of this in the future. But be warned – you will probably stay away from real-life escape rooms after watching this film.