Escape Room (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam Robitel|
|Story by||Bragi Schut|
|Edited by||Steven Mirkovich|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$155.7 million|
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, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani, and Yorick van Wageningen, and follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of escape rooms, only to discover that their fates are tied to whether or not they can solve the puzzles in time.
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 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 is planned for release on November 30, 2020.
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. They gather in the waiting room, waiting for the Gamemaster to arrive, but no one comes.
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 players discover how to unlock an escape passage and climb out before the room is filled with fire. Next they find themselves in a winter cabin, where Ben deduces how to open the door. They step out into an icy room where the temperature is dropping. They eventually find the key, but Danny falls through the ice and drowns. 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 shaft below. They realize the room contains a giant, sliding puzzle, and a missing 8 ball is the key. Amanda retrieves the ball and throws it to Jason before plummeting to her death.
The next room is a hospital ward with six beds, each representing a player. It is revealed that all of the 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 where his friends died. 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 by mentioning the mining tragedy. Jason accidentally kills Mike with a shock. He then solves the puzzle when the gas is released. Jason and Ben escape, but Zoey refuses to follow and disappears into the gas.
Jason and Ben enter a room with optical illusions and strobe lights. While drugged with a hallucinogen, they fight over an antidote. Ben kills Jason and injects himself with the antidote. He then falls into the last room, where a wall moves inwards to crush him. Meanwhile, in the hospital room, employees enter in hazmat gear to dispose of the dead bodies. Zoey appears and attacks them. Ben solves the last room and meets the Gamemaster, who controls the game that the Puzzle Maker designed. The Gamemaster explains that each year they lure in players with something in common - college athletes, savants, etc. - and wealthy viewers bet on the result. The Gamemaster tries to kill Ben, but Zoey intervenes, and together they kill the Gamemaster.
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, Zoey meets up with Ben. Zoey shows Ben newspaper articles that passed off the other players' deaths as everyday accidents. While 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 mysterious Puzzle Maker is already preparing to make their flight a new deadly game of survival.
- Taylor Russell as Zoey Davis
- Logan Miller as Ben Miller
- Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda Harper
- Tyler Labine as Mike Nolan
- Nik Dodani as Danny Khan
- Jay Ellis as Jason Walker
- Yorick van Wageningen as the Gamemaster
On August 9, 2017, it was announced that the film, then titled The Maze, had commenced casting. 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.
Brian Tyler and John Carey composed the score for the film. The soundtrack was released by Sony Music Entertainment, and includes the full score and a remix of the "Escape Room Theme" by Madsonik and Kill the Noise.
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 recently died in the Koszalin escape room fire.
Escape Room grossed $57 million in the United States and Canada, and $98.7 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $155.7 million, against a production budget of $9 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $10–14 million from 2,717 theaters in its opening weekend. 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 Aquaman. The film made $8.9 million in its second weekend, dropping 51% and finishing fifth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 148 reviews, and an average rating of 5.2/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Sandy Schaelfer from Screen Rant gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, writing that "Escape Room is an entertainingly cheesy and surprisingly innovative B-movie, but suffers when it turns its attention to setting up future sequels."
On February 25, 2019, a sequel was announced as being in active development, with Adam Robitel set to return to direct along with screenwriter Bragi F. Schut and producer Neal H. Moritz. It was scheduled for release on April 17, 2020. It was later pushed back to August 14, 2020. and then to November 30, 2020. In October 2019, Collider reported that Isabelle Fuhrman had joined the cast, alongside Russell and Miller. Later that month, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, Indya Moore, and Carlito Olivero also joined the cast.
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