There’s something comforting about the fact that any popular new phenomenon will eventually be turned into the premise for a horror movie. Escape rooms are big lately, so here’s a movie about an escape room ... OF MURDER! Directed by Adam Robitel (last year’s Insidious: The Last Key), this is a diet version of the Saw franchise: PG-13, modestly inventive, fun rather than gruesome and featuring a few characters who are even likable. Six strangers are invited to participate in an escape room game involving multiple connected rooms that grow increasingly lethal. One gets smaller like the Star Wars trash compactor; one is an oven; one is upside-down; etc. The participants’ backstories prove relevant—they were not randomly chosen—and the lead, timid but brilliant college student Zoey (Taylor Russell), is a plucky heroine worth rooting for. The eventual explanation of it all is disappointing as usual, and there were at least two moments where I thought the movie was over before it actually was. But despite its dark premise, the film has a good-natured, funhouse feel.
Director: Adam Robitel
Producer: Neal H. Moritz, Ori Marmur and Rebecca Rivo
Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani, Adam Robitel, Kenneth Fok, Yorick van Wageningen and Jessica Sutton