I’d Like to Solve the Puzzle
Danny: Wow! Talk about immersive!
Amanda: What the hell is wrong with you? That was real!
Six strangers travel to a mysterious building to experience the escape room after someone they each individually knew seemingly signed them up for it. It was a game where players compete to solve a series of puzzles to win $10,000. What starts out as seemingly innocent fun quickly turns into their personal hell as the six strangers discover that each of the rooms is an elaborate trap that is part of a sadistic game of life or death. The quickly realize that you either find the clues, or you die.
While Adam Robitel’s PG-13 thriller is definitely not an original film, it is relatively entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat through the duration of the film. The film has all of the archetypes covered from the cutthroat businessman named Jason to the stoner burnout Ben. Additionally, there is the video game geek Danny, a blue-collar trucker named Mike (he is basically the comic relief of the film and serves no other purpose), Amanda the PTSD Iraqi veteran, and the intelligent but incredibly shy Zoey.
The movie bares striking similarities to Saw, the movie was far from predictable when it came to the death of characters. Essentially, it was easy to figure out that some of the characters were meant to die even if you did not know how they would or in what order. The six characters could not be more different from one another they had to have had one thing in common for the six to be mysteriously invited at the same time. The commonality was that they were all lone survivors – statistical improbabilities. The game master of the Mintos Escape Room wanted to figure out which one of them had what it took to survive again.
I have seen conflicting opinions on the likeability or relatability of the characters. For the most part, I found them to all be pretty relatable or likeable even if they were overexaggerated archetypical characters. The only one that I could see why people did not care for him was Jason, the businessman. He was quick to use others tragic pasts against them to better his chances of survival. A prime example of this would be when he brought up Mike’s deceased younger brother Cal. Jason said that now was Mike’s time to do what was right and sacrifice himself to save the rest of them. I personally thought that utilizing tragic pasts or tender topics against those around him to progress himself further in the game, especially since it was Jason himself who was the only one who was able to help them get out of that specific escape room.
Once they barely completed the first escape room with all six of them moving forward, I was on edge pretty much for the remainder of the film. It was solidified when Amanda, the Iraqi veteran with PTSD had a panic attack in the ventilation tunnel to the next escape room. The game master was deliberately using their tragic pasts against them to make these rooms as victimizing or terrifying as possible for them. I guess it showed that people can find out essentially anything and everything about a person due to advancements in the internet and technology.
Overall, I found the movie to be anxiety inducing and enjoyable but wouldn’t say that it is award worthy, especially compared to the remainder of the 2019 movie lineup that includes Avengers: Endgame and the IT sequel, just to name a few. I would recommend seeing it in theaters with a group of friends as it is made better by peoples’ reaction to what is happening throughout the film.