There’s no escaping the fact that low-budget horror movies are a constant feature of cinema. Love them or loathe them their winning formula of small costs but mass audience appeal ensures that they almost always generate a healthy box office return. This year is no different and one of the first offerings is Adam Robitel’s ‘Escape Room’.
When six strangers are sent a mysterious invitation they find themselves working together to complete a new escape room challenge, supposedly meant to be one of the hardest to solve. However, these escape rooms aren’t only difficult, they’re deadly as the characters quickly realise if they don’t escape they die. Whilst this isn’t a wholly original concept, not feeling miles away from what we’ve seen before in horror franchise ‘Saw’ or the 2017 film of the same name, the film executes it well. It’s a really immersive experience with each room drawing you in with its unique design and features. As the characters try to figure out the clues so do the audience. On occasions the film could have benefited with a little more breathing room to allow viewers longer to work things out for themselves but this is a small criticism as there’s a great pace to the proceedings which might not have been as good is this was the case. Some will criticise it for lacking in the scare department but it does provide countless fantastic sequences riddled with suspense and tension making up for this in abundance.
Although ‘Escape Room’ excels with the main body of its narrative it experiences some issues with its bookends. The film begins with a scene out of sync with the natural timeline delivering a high octane opening. However this comes at the expense of removing almost all the tension from a particular sequence near the finale of the film. Furthermore, the film can’t quite deliver the conclusion the story deserves instead it desperately tries to set up a sequel and doesn’t know when to stop. Less is more sometimes and this is definitely an instance where this applies. Nonetheless these narrative issues don’t detract from how entertaining the rest of the film is with the strong cast proving a valuable addition too. The film’s concept is intriguing enough by itself meaning that it doesn’t require a big name to front the film. The six strangers are instead made up of lesser known performers but some you’ll recognise from their smaller roles in various film and TV productions. They portray a compelling group of characters and it’s fascinating to watch them interact amidst this high pressure situation.
This horror delivers exactly what it promises, providing tense and creative escape room thrills that completely captivate. Admittedly it struggles to start and finish so maybe doesn’t fully realise its concept but this can be forgiven due to just how much fun the bulk of the narrative is. The cast demonstrate entertaining chemistry both dramatic and comedic and present a really watchable group of characters who make it difficult to predict who, if any of them will make it out alive. So with the careful combination of cast, characters and concept ‘Escape Room’ is a fiendishly fun film that you’ll be more than content with confining yourself to the cinema for.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Rating – 8/10
Question: What horror film are you most looking forward to this year?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.