Complete A-Z list

Escape Room


Stars: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani

Director: Adam Robitel

This horror-thriller rattles along in fine style, so much so that we're prepared to accept the seemingly ridiculous premise (though escape room challenges do exist on a somewhat less ambitious scale) and its even less believable complexities, and just sit back to enjoy the fun.

Six people from various walks of life are each sent a mysterious black box, which invites them to participate in an escape-room game from which the winner will emerge $10,000 richer. The one experienced gamer tells his companions that he's taken on several of these challenges, some with as many as four or five interconnected puzzle rooms, from which, given cryptic clues, the contestants have to escape.

But this challenge is different: there are half a dozen rooms and each one is potentially lethal.

As they progress - and die - the would-be escapees are often kept alive only by the mental skills of brainbox Zoey (Russell), whose polar opposite, Ben (Miller) lives in a perpetual state of terror.

It turns out, as the rooms evolve, that each one of the contestants is a soul survivor of some cataclysmic event and that each has been individually targeted. For the devisers of the 'game', the vicarious fun lies in seeing whose survival instinct is stronger than the rest. But eventually, of course, to prevent anyone going to the authorities, they must all be eliminated.

The cast sweat and shiver (according to the room involved) with shrieking conviction, in a series of increasingly life-threatening situations, keeping us on the edges of our seats, until things go a bit doolally and anti-climactic at the end.

The fine details of some of the rooms, of course, border on the impossible, but the film happily remains, for seven-eighths of its runtime at least, the cinematic equivalent of a fairground thrill ride.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by efilm.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 29 Jan 2019