January tends to be dumping ground for movie studios, as they get their weaker pictures and shove them into the four-week block between New Years Day and the Super Bowl where studios as people catch up on the big and or Oscar-nominated pictures released at the end of the previous year. Horror flicks sadly fall into that category, with this year’s offering “Escape Room” from Sony Pictures.
And as usual, it sucks and is really not worth your time.
The plot is basic enough. Six young people with various backgrounds and personal situations are invited by a shadowy organization by the name of Minos to test their latest escape room and should they succeed, get $10,000 in cash.
An escape room is a popular form of entertainment in which strangers have to work together and solve puzzles in a dangerous, “what if” scenario that usually has a larger story behind it.
Basically, you’re stuck inside four walls and you have to figure out how to get out by looking around the room for clues in a limited amount of time. Repeat ad near infinitum.
Since this a horror film, the twist is that these rooms are deadly and can kill you if you’re not careful. Our group of strangers soon figure this out and have to survive challenge after challenge while figuring out why they were specifically chosen. Spoiler alert, but it has to do with various events in their past. And all of this is brought in safe, sterilized, PG-13 fashion.
Because Sony thought the only way for this movie to make money was to make it for babies.
Now there are moments where I like seeing January movies because they are often so bad, they’re good—mainly due to them actually being able to be R-Rated and/or being arguably the worst installment in their franchise. See “Texas Chainsaw 3D”, “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” and the last “Underworld” film for evidence, but “Escape Room” is neither of these things, but a somewhat entertaining “Saw” rip-off that quickly became a chore to watch.
And it’s not liked the film had anything else going for it. The acting is rather poor mainly coming from people you’ve ever heard of before. And the PG-13 rating kills the creativity more than the rooms kill the characters.
While the filmmakers are trying to have fun with the innovativeness of the rooms, including ones that replicate a snowy forest and one involving the characters having to walk on the ceiling, the deaths fall short of creativity. The characters themselves are rather forgettable so you don’t really care for them when they eventually bite it.