Escape Room – Survival of the Fittest.
~ EVERYONE IS DYING TO PLAY ~
Escape rooms have quickly become a worldwide phenomenon amongst millennials. The purpose, as the name would suggest, is to simply escape. As a team you must figure out the answer to the clues in the room in order to, yes, you guessed it – escape the room. As all great things in life and this generation, the idea was naturally adapted into a psychological thriller.
Directed by Adam Robitel, best known for his role in Insidious (2018) and also X-Men (2000) he created a film that adapts on a common hobby among the teenage norm.
The film centres around six people who find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms, relying solely on their wits to survive. All six come from different walks of life and have each received a black box promising a prize of one-million-dollars if they can successfully solve the riddles of the room. As with every good psychological thriller there is a twist, when it is revealed there was never meant to be a winner and the entire ordeal is being filmed for profit, to be sold later on the black market as a snuff film.
Intrigued by the comment of Peter Bradshaw, a movie critic for The Guardian, ‘Nifty, nasty high-concept thriller, with dabs of Saw and Final Destination‘; my friend and I put it to the test in the comfiest chair within our cinema with a bowl of popcorn and water to watch this film. I personally went in thinking I’d be jumping out of my seat and completely scared because I could draw comparisons from the movie to the real-life event, I played with my friends regularly. Quite frankly, it was not scary. There were no jump scares, no unpredictability, no excessive gore but it did still tick the boxes for being a) fast paced, b) a psychological thriller and c) having you thinking.
After watching the film, I realised that Peter Bradshaw had hit the nail on the head with his comments regarding elements of Saw and Final Destination. What was most prominent was how similar the mind tricks were that are played on the multiple victims. In Saw, Jigsaw played mind tricks on his victims – reminiscing about their pasts and having access to things only a select few would know and forcing them to pick someone to save. In Escape Room, something very similar happened as well as every room had a link to someone’s history.
Alongside the similarity of the films and the characters, there are also similarities within the cinematography. In both films puzzles are seen in the rooms and we see moments of teamwork created by fear. Puzzles are everywhere for example they are seen through the black box in the beginning that hides the invitation to the game.
With every room there is another puzzle, whether that’s how to get out or how to gain access to an object that could potentially help – the puzzles are prominent throughout the film again just like Saw. There are also moments of questioning when the individuals all realise that the organisation running the event know about their history; medical, family, school, anything that could be used as leverage for the game.
Probably the most important scene to demonstrate this is when the protagonists find themselves trapped in what I have so dubbed the “hospital scene”. In this scene they come across six beds with medical charts attached. They all soon realise that everyone’s chart has been placed in the room and the common link between them all is that one way or another they have survived something they should not have survived.
They are survivors.
These pivotal moments throughout the movie do make it better than the films it is associated with. Most commonly, this movie has been named the next Saw series but I do not think it stacks up. I liked this film. It possessed some excellent cinematography, making the viewer’s jump, skin crawl and scream but it did leave a lot to be desired with a cliff-hanger ending.
Does it possess similar cinematography, film techniques and story lines as Saw and Final Destination?
Yes, but in its essence, it talks about a fundamental rule that goes back as far as the creation of man.
The survival of the fittest.