Director: Adam Robitel
Writers: Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis
Six complete strangers are given invitations to enter an ‘escape room’ competition that offers a lucrative cash prize, but they soon discover that these ‘rooms’ are in fact potentially deadly where they must all use their wits to intellect to quite literally survive.
We all of course remember the Saw films, and I think it is fair to say that we all watched them for the pure entertainment of seeing people killed in increasingly elaborate and ridiculous ways as they try to solve almost impossible puzzles, while we didn’t care too much about the half-hearted attempts at the preachy moralising that tried to justify why these characters were put in these positions. Well, Safe Room adopts a similar approach, but with neither the extreme gore nor the moralising that came with the Saw films. It is indeed a very tame version of the Saw films, but still contains elaborate and slightly ridiculous plot contrivances and twists (some of which are reminiscent of Hostel), and though these are very laughable, there are certain elements of Escape Room that make it a just about watchable film.
Escape rooms are currently one of the latest trends in the UK, with former retail units in many high streets and shopping centres now being used for these things, and so a film which features these things being genuinely real where people could actually die was of course inevitable, and I am sure those behind it would love this to be a Saw style franchise, In fact, because of the film’s stupid ending it is actually obvious that they do. Also, the music is incredibly similar to that of the Saw films!
The film starts off by introducing us to what will be the participants (well, three of the six) and their day-to-day lives (no prizes for guessing which three participants last the longest! – this is technically a spoiler, but only for people without a brain), and the full six are naturally a group with differing personalities and backgrounds that are both highly clichéd and narratively convenient.
Though there is no escaping (pun probably intended) the fact that Escape Room is complete lowest-common-denominator rubbish, it is actually just about watchable and passable entertainment thanks to some admittedly well-designed escape rooms that are genuinely quite creepy and interesting. The performances are adequate, and as long as the viewer is willing to go with it and not question any of the film’s abundance of clichés and lazy attempts at both creating a potential franchise and why the contestants have all been chosen, then Escape Room is a superior film to most of the utter rubbish that the genre has to offer.
In a genre littered with terrible films, Escape Room could certainly never be described as a ‘good’ film, as it is ultimately rubbish that is desperate to be the start of a long running franchise. However, all things considered, thanks to some good set design it emerges as just about passable nonsense.