MOVIE REVIEW: Escape Room has us hoping they hurry up
ESCAPE ROOM (M)
Rating: Two and a half stars (2.5 out of 5)
Director: Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key)
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis.
First to leave could be only one to stay
A middling thriller typical of the kind of fare that can often drop at this time of year, Escape Room sometimes tippy-toes into the realm of horror, then thinks better of it.
The movie always seems to be in two minds as to whether it should be giving you a real scare, or just a mild jolt. Horror purists will definitely be left wanting more of the former. (Nevertheless, the prevalence of the latter is what has landed the flick a lucrative M rating, which means it can play to a wider ranges of ages.)
The title is a free tip that Escape Room is here to cash in on the current popularity of real-life escape rooms, where problem-solving punters are voluntarily locked away in a tricked-out enclosed space.
While the lights flicker, the power cuts out and the thermostat rises and falls, visitors must correctly interpret whatever clues are lying around to find the exit.
It is in one such digital-age maze that we find a random group of young American strangers, all of whom have received the same invitation to go and get lost.
The first to make their way out gets $10,000 cash. And what of the others? Well, it is no spoiler to let slip that for some contestants, the game may be over before they ever get near that one door to freedom.
The players are a bland bunch of one-trait wonders (there's a cocky one, a nerdy one, a needy one, a greedy one and so on), but that doesn't matter so much.
The real star of the show is the ever-changing environment in which they are stuck, which can replicate anything from the inside of an oven to an open-air snowstorm.