In the year 2004, the film Saw was released, and people just went crazy over it, and… I kinda get it. I do really like the ending and it does have some good scares, but besides that it’s a pretty dull movie that created the torture gimmick that many horror movies now practice.
Escape Room is the latest film to jump on the bandwagon and I was not excited for it at all. In the last two years, the first ventures into horror have been Insidious: The Last Key and The Bye Bye Man, the latter being one of my least favorite films ever made. Does Escape Room break the curse? Let’s talk about that, and the Saw movies, I’ll be talking about those a lot too here.
So to start with the positives, the best thing about Escape Room is the design of the rooms. Similar to the Saw films and how the traps are the best part of the latter films, the rooms here provide what most people go to actual escape rooms for, as they have some pretty decent mysteries and puzzles to solve. Now, are they difficult? No, but they certainly are fun to try to see if you would be able to solve it in the scenario. Also, the rooms are really nice to look at, as the set design is just fantastic. It does make you think just how much it costs to make these rooms, but they kinda answer that at the end. All in all, the rooms are definitely my favorite part of the film.
The next thing I want to talk about is… well, that’s really all that’s good about this movie. I suppose I should get into the bad. Well, to start, the film really suffers as it lacks two things which gave the Saw films their flair, their gore and their villain. Now, I’m not saying every horror movie needs gore, A Quiet Place and Get Out are fantastic examples as they use great storytelling and performances in order to squeeze the fear out of you.
The gore is what made a lot of those traps in the Saw films memorable, and for the sake of keeping this review PG I won’t say any here. The rooms are really good in Escape Room, but we never feel a gigantic threat to the participants as for all we know it’ll be a twist similar to Game Night, and not to spoil it, but without that boost we don’t know if we can be scared for them.
Now onto the second topic of the villain, and this is a big one, as with the Saw films you have Jigsaw, a serial killer who makes people go through a trap or series of traps in order to survive, as well as try to be better through the traps which are mostly representative of their own problems. Here, they try to kinda connect it to their past experiences with things like hypothermia and giant explosions but then they move onto an upside down bar which… yeah.
Also, Jigsaw, even though I think like three people were Jigsaw at the end of the 8th one, the puppet was still pretty creepy, and Tobin Bell did well in the role. Here… oh boy, they lay the seeds down for a villain that could be really cool, and actually make me want a sequel because of how good an idea like that could be, but they basically make the bad guy Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, because you never see him and he has a deep scary voice. Plus, it’s the cliche thing where the villain is a silhouette on a screen, which is pretty boring. We could have had something awesome if they elaborated more on the organization. We could have had another old school SPECTRE, but with puzzles. I would watch that movie, but instead they just give us the guy who assaults Lisbeth in the Fincher Dragon Tattoo and the silhouette, which is just a huge problem.
So in all actuality, the kinda wraps up my thoughts on Escape Room, as I have nothing left to say. This movie is just so average that I just latched onto what I had any feelings about and just ran with it. This is certainly better than the films I listed earlier such as Bye Bye Man and Insidious 4, the latter of which actually had the same director and I did have a good time while watching it. I would probably recommend it to someone who likes thrillers, and it is serviceable, but the lack of flair makes it very forgettable and especially has a lack of rewatch value. Definitely wait to watch this one on HBO.