Adam Robitel began last year with ‘Insidious: The Last Key’, which proved to be a disappointment although elements of promise shined through it fell into cliche upon cliche. Now, Robitel is back to start off 2019 with ‘Escape Room’, an utter surprise.
With the growing trend of escape rooms it is only fitting a film is made. Robitel in this film gets to explore a high-concept mystery which show off his sleek and precise direction. It is not throw away like many January films, it is truly deserving on the ending tease for a sequel.
Six strangers, with no connection receive a mysterious cube containing an invite to participate in an escape room for a hefty amount of money. Of the six differing characters Zoey (Taylor Russell) is by far the most adept, Ben (Logan Miller) is an alcholic mess, Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll) is a war-torn soldier, Danny (Nik Dodani) is the supposed ‘expert’, Jason (Jay Ellis) is a business man and Mike (Tyler Labine) is a arrogant stockbroker.
Running against the clock they realise the escape room is essentially designed for death, each specific layer routing in one character and the mystery of how the mastermind knew of each person’s tragic past remains poignant til the very end.
The film captures a sense of entrapment, with Robitel’s precise box-like direction creating an isolated effect on the spectator that really works. The rooms differ hugely, with each level expanding or contracting what is perhaps normal or surreal? The best scene of the film is in an upside down bar, the phone rings and “Downtown” crackles out as literal ‘elevator’ music mixed to brilliant effect. The pace and tempo changes creating a horror-like effect as the tension rises.
Although I went in expecting not much, I can say coming out of the film liking it a lot was a big surprise. The horror elements are ever present but the film captures a more psychological feel to it, Escape Room is a nifty and smartly woven psychological concept that delivers.
ESCAPE ROOM IS OUT IN UK ON CINEMAS FROM 1ST FEBRUARY
FILM TWEETS & REACTIONS @THEDCTVSHOW ON TWITTER