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Trailer Alert: Escape Room (2019)


Deborah Ann Woll, Nick Dodani, Jay Ellis, Logan Miller, Tyler Labine, and Taylor Russell ask for a clue in Escape Room (2019)

A slick take on the Escape Room craze. Can the strangers gathered to play in this deadly puzzle solve their way to survival and riches?

Have you done an escape room?  These puzzle filled rooms have been popping up all over the US and provide an hour’s worth of fun, succeed or fail in trying to think along with the room designers.  I’ve done six of them, and have managed to succeed in getting out about half the time.  Fortunately, the game usually provides a limited number of hints so that even the trickiest parts of the escape room can be overcome.

The Sony produced Escape Room examines a scenario in which the consequences of failing the puzzle are deadly.  A group of strangers are put together, they face a series of more and more formidable rooms from which they have to escape, and the first person to escape gets a million dollars.  It would appear as if the Escape Room is something of a holodeck (Star Trek TNG) where radically different and increasingly dangerous situations can be thrown at the participants.

A room that turns into an oven, a wintery outdoor wilderness, a dilapidated hospital ward, and an upside-down room all are revealed in the trailer. For those not in the know, most escape rooms are not fancy high-tech digital experiments.  They’re usually are pretty budget looking affairs… often resembling something more like a room from Saw, or part of an inexpensive motel.  So, something that had better be explained in this story is why someone would go through the effort of making such a preposterously fancy trap for these people. That’s a lot of effort and expense to pull this off.

Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, Nick Dodani, and Logan Miller chill in a holo-suite-ish Escape Room.

There are a couple of recognizable faces in the cast, most notably Deborah Ann Woll, fresh off a fantastic run on Netflix’s Daredevil as Karen Page (enough so that it’s hard to see her in a different role) and Tyler Labine who played Dale in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010). The production values look good, with a production cost being a modest $10,000,000, and I kinda dig the funky “Little Boxes” song that plays in the trailer. 

My fear is that this movie is trying to tap into the newest fad, and it may come up wanting… but the trailer looks solid.  Thematically, this has been done before in the entertaining and very gory Cube (1997) and I think that’s where this film will be benchmarked.  It is, however, a PG-13 studio production, so I’m always a little worried about how they pull that off.  Is it more A Quiet Place (smart horror, eschewing gore for dramatic suspense) or more like Truth or Dare (dumb horror that capitalizes on pop culture trends)?  We’ll know in a few weeks whether this will be worth it.

Escape Room opens in wide theatrical release on January 3.

Scariest Crew.  Do you want to see Escape Room?

Eric:  
I’ll go see it, but I’m taking this with a huge chunk of caution.  Sony isn’t well known for their ability to do good horror movies.  But I do like the trailer… and I love escape rooms. Crossing my fingers.

Amy:
I get kind of a Cube vibe from the trailer.  I like that they’re hinting at either a supernatural or a ridiculously advanced technological cause.  I’ll definitely be checking this out.  Plus, I like Logan Miller from Love, Simon, who’s in this movie.

Liz:
I’m in for this one because it looks fun a la Saw (2004), even if it is oozing in cliché like the guy yelling, “They’re watching everything we do!”

Robert:
Deborah Ann Woll in a SFX-heavy movie about Rube Goldberg devices that kill? Just take my money already! Sure, it’s probably gonna be silly, but it’s got a slick look to it. Grab a couple beers, break out the chips & salsa, and see who survives. 

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