Escape Room -film

Escape Room is a 2019 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, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani, and follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of escape rooms, only to find the consequences are deadly. Development of the film began in August 2017, then under the title The Maze, and the casting process commenced. Filming took place in South Africa in late 2017 through January 2018.

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Escape Room
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAdam Robitel
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Bragi F. Schut
  • Maria Melnik
Story byBragi F. Schut
Starring
Music by
CinematographyMarc Spicer
Edited bySteve Mirkovich
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • January 4, 2019 (2019-01-04) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$9 million[2]
Box office$115.7 million[2]

Escape Room is a 2019 psychological horror film[3] 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, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani, and follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of escape rooms, only to find the consequences are deadly.

Development of the film began in August 2017, then under the title The Maze, and the casting process commenced. Filming took place in South Africa in late 2017 through January 2018.

Escape Room was released in the United States on January 4, 2019, by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and was a box office success, grossing over $115 million worldwide and becoming the seventh highest-grossing film of 2019. 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.

Plot

Shy Physics student Zoey, struggling stockboy Ben, young trader Jason, pyrophobic war veteran Amanda, former miner Mike and escape room enthusiast Danny are all gifted a puzzle box invitation to the Minos Escape Room Facility for a chance to win a million dollars if they successfully escape. Each player walks into a waiting room and is told by a person behind a window to “have a seat and someone will be with you shortly”.

When Ben tries leaving the waiting room at the facility for a smoke break, the door handle breaks off, revealing that the game has actually begun. The players notice there’s a puzzle within the broken door handle. The players scramble around the room looking for a numerical code. Zoey notices a number on one of the books in Mike’s hand. She runs to the door puzzle and turns the dial, initiating a giant heater/oven effect in the room.

As the heat intensifies, the players search desperately to escape. The players bang on the frosted glass to get the attendant’s attention, but after finding the key to open the window, it is discovered the attendant is a mannequin and the voice was only a recording. Suddenly, the phone rings, which when picked up tells them to play by the rules. The oven effect worsens, making it unbearable. Zoey notices a sign by the water cooler to use the coasters. She runs to the nearby coffee table and presses down on one coaster. It sinks into the coffee table, revealing a shaft door in the wall. Several players push each coaster down, opening the doorway completely. Jason crawls through the shaft and finds an exit. Mike goes next. Amanda goes next, but has a panic attack and a flashback of her crawling through the aftermath of an IED attack. Zoey goes in and coaxes her to go on. Ben and Danny take turns filling glasses of water to hold the coasters down so they can go. At long last, the chandelier is revealed to be an extreme picket light. At the last second, Danny and Ben go through the shaft as the room explodes.

The group then finds itself in a winter cabin. Jason and Mike notice a lock on the door where the combination is a seven-letter word. Zoey notices a decoration that reads “You’ll Go Down In History”. Everyone begins trying to come up with historical figures to fit the combination. Ben notices nine deer antlers on the wall, each with the first letter of Santa’s reindeer. He has a flashback of himself driving drunk with several friends in the car, singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Drunken and distracted, he drives into oncoming traffic, resulting in a violent crash. Connecting the dots, Ben suggests they try "Rudolph," which unlocks the door, and the group escapes from the cabin into the tundra. Danny notices a "force field" preventing them from moving into the mountain scenery. Mike climbs a tree to retrieve a fishing pole. Jason finds the way out, but it’s locked. Amanda finds a single red winter coat, which they all take turns wearing. Zoey finds a magnet in a stuffed polar bear’s mouth. As Ben walks to the group, his leg breaks some ice, revealing a hole. Mike and Jason use the pole with the magnet attached to pull out a key encased in ice. Jason has a short flashback of himself and another man freezing. The other man is wearing a similar coat as the one Amanda found. Stepping aside to smoke, Ben tosses his lighter toward the rest of the group but his toss falls short. Danny steps out onto the ice to retrieve the lighter. Suddenly, the ice beneath him explodes and he falls under the ice, drowning as the group fails to save him. Without the lighter, the remaining five members of the group melt the ice with body heat. Delirious from the early stages of hypothermia, Jason and the group stumble through the tundra with the newly freed key and escape the room.

The third room is an inverted billiards bar whose "floor" gradually falls away as the song “Downtown” plays loudly. It is revealed to be a play on musical chairs. As the song stops, a section of floor falls revealing a deathly drop to the bottom. Amanda climbs up to the bar and finds a safe with a combination. Identifying the central pool table's missing eight ball as the key to escape, Zoey solves a sliding puzzle. The puzzle wall breaks away, leaving Zoey, Ben and Mike to struggle to stay on. Jason berates Mike to get off. Mike is too scared to move. Zoey yells at Jason to stop yelling and decides to move off. She can’t grip the pool stick and falls on the floor, knocking herself out. She has a dream where she is on the floor of a plane crash staring up at her dead mother. As she awakens, she realizes the code through the puzzle is upside down. Amanda uses the new code to retrieve the ball from a locked safe. However, Amanda drops the ball on her way to join the others. Sacrificing herself to retrieve the ball, Amanda throws it to Jason just as the last piece of floor falls away, and she plummets to her death.

The remaining four members of the group enter a hospital ward containing six beds identical to the ones the original six players were treated in after being declared sole survivors: Zoey survived a plane crash, Mike a mining cave-in, Ben the car accident, Jason a boat accident, Danny carbon monoxide poisoning, and Amanda an IED blast while she was a soldier in Iraq. The remaining four members of the group realize that deliberate planning had led them all to the escape room, that aspects of the game had been modelled carefully on their lives, and that the intent of the room was to see who would be the luckiest of the lucky to still survive. After a TV broadcast states that the group has five minutes until the room will be filled with poison gas, Jason, Ben, and Mike find three X-rays of a hand making the ASL for EKG. Meanwhile, Zoey loses control and begins breaking all the surveillance cameras in the room. The EKG machine is located and Jason deduces they need to find the optimal heart rate that will lead to the next room. Believing a high heart rate will save the group, Jason inadvertently kills Mike by blasting him several times with a defibrillator, before hooking himself up to the EKG and letting the poison lower his rate to below 50 BPM. The pathway to the next room opens, but Zoey who no longer wants to live by the rigged rules of the escape room refuses to follow Jason and Ben. She collapses from the gas.

Jason and Ben enter a psychedelic room. Remorseful over the deaths of Mike and Zoey, Ben argues with Jason about his behavior. Jason reveals that he survived his boat accident only by killing his roommate. They notice a latch with a turning handle in the middle. They open the hatch to reveal a message about an antidote as well as acknowledge they have been drugged with an LSD-like drug. As they are tripping, the stumble around the room looking for the antidote. Ben finds it with a note stating there is only one usage and it needs to be injected into the muscle. Ben and Jason fight over it. Ben kicks Jason off of himself, cracking Jason's head against a table in the process, then grabs the vial and quickly injects himself before falling through the hatch to the room from the film's beginning.

Back to the hospital room, several Minos employees enter the room via a side door dressed in hazmat gear. Zoey jumps up and bludgeons each person. She grabs the gun on the floor that was dropped by one of the men she struck and runs out the side door.

In the final room, Ben narrowly avoids getting crushed. He enters a giant warehouse with equipment cases stacked upon each other. The Game Master emerges. A giant multi-monitor panel projects the face of each player. All dead players are striked out in red. The Game Master explains the purpose of the game, revealing that a connecting theme always unites the players (i.e., college athletes, savants, lone survivors, etc.) and that external viewers bet on the projected winners. As the winner of this game, Ben hopes that he may now leave with the advertised $10,000, but instead the Game Master tries to kill him to stop the secrets of the game from being revealed to the public. Zoey emerges from the warehouse and shoots the Game Master. He flees into hiding. Zoey is calling for Ben when the Game Master subdues Zoey and points the gun to her mouth. Suddenly, the monitor projects the Game Master’s face as if he is now a player. Ben hits the Game Master in the back of the head and shoots him twice in the chest. Together, they escape the facility.

As Ben recovers in medical care, Zoey explains what happened to the police. However, finding no evidence at the escape room facility, the police do not believe the story.

Determined to prevent the Minos Escape Room company from getting away with the cover-up, Zoey convinces Ben six months later to join her on a flight to New York City, where she decodes where the company is based. However, the company's Puzzle Maker is already one step ahead, planning to trap Zoey and Ben into another game by turning their flight into a new escape room.

Cast

Production

On August 9, 2017, it was announced that the film, then titled The Maze, had commenced casting.[4] It was set to shoot in South Africa in late 2017.[5] In January 2018, director Robitel told Syfy that production had wrapped and that the film would be released in September 2018.[6]

Release

In May 2018, it was announced that the film had been retitled Escape Room, and that it would be released on November 30, 2018.[7] A month later, the film was pushed back to February 1, 2019,[8] and later was rescheduled for January 4, 2019.[9]

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 recently died in the Koszalin escape room fire.[10]

Reception

Box office

As of February 21, 2019, Escape Room has grossed $55.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $59.8 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $115.7 million, against a production budget of $9 million.[2][11]

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $10–14 million from 2,717 theaters in its opening weekend.[3] It made $7.7 million on its first day, including $2.3 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $18.2 million, surpassing expectations and finishing second, behind holdover Aquaman.[12] The film made $8.9 million in its second weekend, dropping 51% and finishing fifth.[13]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 48% based on 126 reviews, and an average rating of 5.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Escape Room fails to unlock much of the potential in its premise, but what's left is still tense and thrilling enough to offer a passing diversion for suspense fans."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 24 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

References

  1. "Escape Room". AMC Theatres. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 "Escape Room (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  3. 1 2 Rubin, Rebecca (January 3, 2019). "'Box Office: 'Escape Room' No Match for 'Aquaman'". Variety. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  4. Jr, Mike Fleming (2017-08-09). "Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell Enter 'The Maze'". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  5. "Deborah Ann Woll, Logan Miller to Star in Sony's 'The Maze'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  6. Wax, Alyse (2018-01-05). "How a new director helped Insidious: The Last Key change up the franchise". Syfy. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  7. Pedersen, Erik. "'Peter Rabbit 2' Gets Sony Greenlight; 2020 Release Date Set". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  8. Sony Dates Jason Reitman’s ‘The Front Runner’, Untitled James Gunn Horror Pic & ‘Escape Room’
  9. "Sony Moves 'Escape Room' Up By A Month & 'Miss Bala' By A Week". Deadline Hollywood. October 12, 2018.
  10. Scislowska, Monika (2019-01-07). "Victims of poland escape room fire to be buried together". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  11. "Escape Room (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  12. 1 2 D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 6, 2018). "'Aquaman' Still The Big Man At The B.O. With $30M+; 'Escape Room' Packs In $17M+ – Early Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  13. D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 13, 2018). "'Upside' Set To Be STX's First No. 1 Opener With $19M+; 'Aquaman' Flips Over $1B WW; Keanu Reeves Hits B.O. Low With 'Replicas'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  14. "Escape Room (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  15. "Escape Room Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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