“A Pot of Laziness”
The general problem with Escape Room is that it lacks conviction. Films that have conviction make viewers care about what they are watching. They provide something interesting, unexpected and above all, reasons to care about the characters. Escape Room doesn't do any of these things and it’s mostly due to the very poor writing.
Escape Room is a survival thriller about six strangers who travel to a strange building to partake in the eEscape Room - a game where players compete to solve a series of puzzles in which the winner will win $10,000.00. The contestants soon discover each room is an intentional trap that’s part of a terrifying game of life or death. At least, it’s supposed to be terrifying. With writing so poor, you can hardly blame the actors for their lack of believability in this situation. I’m sure they all tried their best for this film but aside from being young actors who need to pay their bills, I’ve no idea why they dedicated their time to this film. Their performances make them all sound frustrated and overstressed but never scared or traumatized.
The sad thing about Escape Room is that since it’s in the genre of survival films, it actually had a lot of potential. So much could have been done with it. Each character could have had a devastating backstory to make viewers sympathize with them and make them more interesting. The game makers motives could have been aimed at a higher vantage point and the actual escape rooms could have looked more terrifying. The writers had a golden opportunity to make all this possible and instead of running with it, they embarked on a script that was stereotypical and made a mockery of human suffering as the contestants do have backstories but there not strong enough to be placed in a survival situation where it could be of relevance because it all feels so staged.
I knew when I saw the trailer for the film that it was going to be disappointing as far as quality is concerned but I at least thought it was going to be entertaining. It is not. It’s cheesy, laughable and for a survival film, quite short. This is partly why the writing is so sloppy. If something is worth mentioning, you don’t rush it. As a filmmaker, you just don’t do that. With Escape Room, there’s not much to say so it can be rushed. I certainly didn’t mind leaving the theater afterwards.
I also had very high hopes for the cinematography. It’s certainly not terrible as the lighting is sort of impressive but it doesn’t go well with the film. The escape rooms just didn't look right. As much as it didn’t look terrifying, that wasn’t entirely it. If you’re trapped in an environment you want to escape from, you can’t make it look so casual. The events in which the rooms are in are far from casual, but the scenery ought to match the situation at hand and it doesn't.
One good thing about the beginning of the year is that so many films are out at once. I highly recommend you partake with something else instead of this pot of laziness. I had this idea that being harsh as a critic when needed would be easy but it’s not. I actually don’t enjoy saying these things, but it can’t really be helped. If I can influence you to stray from the path of unnecessary films and inject you with better ones, I’ll do what I have to in order to make that possible for you.
Overall, Escape Room will certainly succeed in overwhelming you as your theories that the second half will be better will not be met and you’ll be waiting anxiously for 100 minutes for a fantasy that will never happen.