Can You Solve the Puzzles and Escape the Room? A Review of Escape Room 2019
Escape Room is a 2019 American psychological horror film directed by Adam Robitel and written by Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik. The film stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jay Ellis, and Yorick van Wageningen, and follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of deadly escape rooms.
Escape Room was released in the United States on January 4, 2019, by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and grossed over $155 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the atmosphere and cast, but criticized the familiar plot and its failure to take full advantage of its premise. A sequel, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, was released on July 16, 2021.
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Six people from varied backgrounds are presented with a puzzle cube: Zoey, a physics student; Jason, a wealthy daytrader; Ben, a stockboy; Mike, a truck driver; Amanda, an Iraq War veteran; and Danny, an escape room enthusiast. When they solve the puzzle, they are invited to take part in an escape room with a $10,000 prize. The participants arrive at an office block with no greeting, and when Ben tries to leave, the door handle falls off, revealing that the challenge has begun. They escape the first two rooms, a giant heating oven and a winter cabin. After finding the key, however, the rooms become fatal. Danny falls through the ice in an icy room and drowns; Amanda plummets to her death in an upside-down billiards bar where parts of the floor periodically fall into a deep shaft below; Jason shocks Mike to death to solve a puzzle in a hospital room filling up with poisonous gas; and in a room with optical illusions and strobe lights, Ben kills Jason over an antidote required to escape.
The first involves a Hispanic soccer team being brought into the same escape room the main characters experience. However when solving the first puzzle, the oven room, they attempt to force their way out by breaking things. This causes the countdown on the room to accelerate, and they are all burned to death. This scene was meant to begin the film, but it was found to spoil the excitement of revealing the nature of the first room to the audience.
The second was an alternate ending in which Zoey receives a clue that leads her to her professor's classroom. There she is lead to her assigned class seat where a compartment opens up revealing the compass her mother left her, which she lost in the escape room, along with a check for $10,000. A video camera and speaker then rise up out of her professor's speaking podium and The Puzzle Maker's voice comes out of it, congratulating her on her win.
Additionally, Cornelius Geaney Jr. appears as Zoey's professor while Jessica Sutton portrays her roommate, Allison. Russell Crous portrays Charlie, Jason's assistant; Bart Fouche portrays Gary, Ben's boss; Kenneth Fok portrays Detective Li; and Jamie-Lee Money portrays Rosa, a fake flight attendant who works for Minos.
On August 9, 2017, it was announced that the film, then titled The Maze, had commenced casting, based on an original story created by screenwriter Bragi F. Schut. It was set to shoot in South Africa in late 2017. In January 2018, director Robitel told Syfy that production had wrapped and that the film would be released in September 2018, before the film was delayed multiple times to an eventual early 2019 release.
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In May 2018, it was announced that the film was originally going to be released on November 30, 2018. A month later, the film was pushed back two months from its original release date of November 30, 2018, to February 1, 2019, and later was moved up from February 1, 2019, to January 4, 2019.
In Poland, United International Pictures announced that the film's release in the country would be delayed out of respect for the five teenagers who had died in the Koszalin escape room fire, which actually occurred on the day of the film's U.S. release.
In February 2019, a sequel, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, was announced as being in active development, with Robitel set to return to direct along with screenwriter Schut and producer Moritz. In October 2019, Collider reported that original cast members Russell and Miller would reprise their roles in the sequel. It was released on July 16, 2021.
Six people from varied backgrounds are sent puzzle cubes: Zoey, a physics student; Jason, a wealthy day trader; Ben, a stock boy; Mike, a truck driver; Amanda, an Iraq War veteran; and Danny, an escape room enthusiast. When they solve the puzzle, they are invited to take part in an escape room with a $10,000 winning prize. The participants arrive at an office block and gather in a waiting room waiting, but, after a few minutes, no one comes to greet them.
When Ben tries to leave, the door handle falls off, revealing that the challenge has begun. The room turns out to be a giant oven that begins to heat up the room. The players discover an escape passage and climb out before the room is filled with fire. Next, they find themselves in a winter cabin. When trying to escape, Ben's tragic past is revealed, assisting them in solving the puzzle. They escape the cabin and step out into an icy room where the temperature is dropping. They eventually find the key, but Danny falls through the ice and drowns, confirming that they are dealing with potentially fatal rooms rather than just an elaborate game. Some players notice reminders of traumatic events in their past: A song Ben heard before almost dying in a car crash and a red coat Jason wore when he escaped a shipwreck. The remaining five players enter an upside-down billiards bar, where parts of the floor periodically fall into a deep elevator shaft below. In helping the others escape, Amanda plummets to her death.
The next room is a hospital ward with six beds, each representing a player. It is revealed that all six players were each sole survivors of various disasters: Mike escaped a mine cave-in, Zoey survived a plane crash, Danny survived when his family died of carbon monoxide poisoning, Amanda survived an IED blast, Jason survived a shipwreck in frigid weather, and Ben survived a car accident that killed all his friends. Zoey realizes that the purpose of the game is to determine which player is the luckiest of all. Jason discovers that the room is about to be filled with poisonous gas. Zoey refuses to continue playing and instead destroys the room's surveillance cameras. A clip about a heart surgeon called "Dr. Wootan Yu" suggests that someone needs to record a certain heart rate to escape. Mike has the highest heart rate, but not high enough to work. Jason suggests using the defibrillator on Mike. Mike is unwilling at first, but Jason manipulates him to participate. Jason accidentally electrocutes Mike in the process. He then realizes that they need a slower heart rate and solves the puzzle as the gas is released. Jason and Ben escape, but Zoey refuses to follow, as she is bent on breaking the hidden cameras, and disappears into the gas.
As Ben recovers, Zoey returns to the building with a detective. The police do not believe Zoey, as all evidence of the game has disappeared. They do not believe Ben either, as he was found to have drugs in his system. While looking at the graffiti on the wall, Zoey notices the words "No Way Out", an anagram for "Wootan Yu", suggesting the game is not over. Six months later, Ben Miller is the new regional sales representative for Logan Square. Zoey meets up with him and shows newspaper articles that passed off the other players' deaths as everyday accidents: Mike Nolan died of a heart attack in a bathroom in Union Station, Jason Walker was thrown from his bike on the I-64 (DMT found in his system), Danny Khan drowned in Lake Michigan, Amanda Harper, rock-climbing alone, fell and died. When Ben suggests Zoey should move on, she refuses. She reveals clues to Ben that point to an unlisted building in Manhattan. Ben agrees to go with her. However, the Puzzle Maker is already preparing to make their flight a new deadly game of survival.
At the start of the movie, six people are summoned together on the premise of playing an escape room. The players are: Danny, an escape room enthusiast; Zoey, a physics student; Ben, a grocery store stocker; Jason, a stockbroker; Amanda, a war veteran; and Mike, a former miner.
The first room in the Escape Room movie was the lobby. The players met for the first time in the lobby and quickly discovered that it was the first puzzle. Clues and locks were scattered throughout the room. When Ben tried to open the door, the handle broke off and revealed an oven dial. Mike found a screwdriver hidden in a book, Fahrenheit 451, which gave Zoey a clue about the oven dial. Turning the oven dial to 451 activated heating coils in the room, turning it into a giant oven. Under a fake fire extinguisher, the players found a key which unlocked a partition to the secretary office.
They found a box containing a jacket, a compass, and some other items. Mike found a fishing rod and Zoey used the compass to find a magnet. They attached the magnet to the fishing rod and dropped the line into the hole. The magnet caught something, and they reeled in a block of ice in a metal frame. Inside the ice was the key to the next room. During a brief argument, Danny fell through the ice and became trapped. He died and the remaining players attempted to melt the ice block by warming it with their hands. Once the ice melted enough, they headed into the next room.
This room was staged entirely upside-down, with a floor that gradually fell away as the remaining players progressed. The players had to climb around the edges of the room and up the walls to avoid falling to their deaths. One wall had a door with no doorknob. Another had a sliding tile puzzle made of vinyl record covers. Amanda climbed up and found a lock box that contained the 8-ball doorknob. Once the sliding tile puzzle was completed, they used it and the inverted pool table to determine the combination.