Did you know that two movies were released in 2017 with the title Escape Room? There’s THIS ONE (click) and then there’s the one I’m reviewing here, starring Scream bad boy Skeet Ulrich. Don’t get either of them confused for THIS Escape Room (2019), because neither 2017 outing comes even close to it.
Did you follow any of that? Me neither. Unsurprisingly, all of the Escape Room movies come with the same premise… People meeting their gruesome deaths in an escape room. No surprise there then. Ulrich plays the owner of said escape rooms who has no idea whatsoever that he’s unleashed a demonic presence in his establishment because he’s purchased a mystical ancient box from an antiques shop. It sounds lame… and it is lame.
As with the other Escape Room movies (which actually have no relation to each other whatsoever), this one is equally as predictable: a bunch of annoying white people think it would be “fun” to do an escape room together, but don’t know that the risk of death is actually very real. A decent premise for a horror movie or several, but the execution of this one is way, way off.
What lets this movie down the most is its pacing. The desert opening – whilst quite unique – is way too long, then once the group finally get into the titular room, it’s not until 45 minutes in that there’s any guts and gore. Before that, there are very few hints that this is even a horror film, and it’s really not compelling at all but instead quite tedious. A scary box? I mean, come on.
The makers of this iteration of Escape Room clearly wanted to reference other movies as much as possible – The Thing, Gremlins and Annabelle all get pretty fun nods, for example – and they even go super meta by having Skeet Ulrich play the owner of the escape rooms. Turns out, Ulrich is the only one who gives a believable performance, with the rest of the acting being super wooden and unbelievable. Honestly the bad acting is scarier than the entire rest of the movie combined.
There are a lot of crappy horror movies out there, but this one is a huge dump. Not scary, not interesting, not even technically well made and it doesn’t deserve any more of my attention.
Escape Room is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
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