A less lurid version of Saw, Hostel, and Final Destination comes from Insidious: The Last Key helmsman Adam Robitel using pillaging, resourceful hosts and surveillance to primarily entice a millennial draw for a five-figure stipend for its obliging participants to assuage their anxieties. A routine irksomeness finally pervades what might be tantalizing for a while in its orchestration and visuals.
Escape Room tries to one-up its titular teasing gaming nature to solve (with keys and codes) when the stakes become life-and-death while succumbing to stereotypes and staying less jagged when a half-dozen ragtag folks assemble in a Chicago waiting room around Thanksgiving where the competition has already heated up.
What becomes a high-tech deathtrap for its maze runners from the box invite they’ve received has a dutiful quality reminiscent of what came from the likes of Agatha Christie with much enthusiasm from its super-nerd guru of these spaces (Nik Rodani) into the inherent mortality in its set-up. Also, there’s an Iraq war veteran (Deborah Ann Woll), an outdoorsy, ordinary bloke (Tyler Labine), boozy grocery clerk (Logan Miller), as well as smarmy investment banker (Jay Ellis) and Taylor Russell’s Zoey, a restive, if diffident collegian who’s into quantum physics postulating supported by her professor in this chancy endeavor.
In some kind of New Age William Castle fashion — think of it like Facebook terror — flashbacks are positioned to reveal individual susceptibilities in experiences for creepy effect. The obstacles are tailored with more flavor than these characters when it comes to a frozen lake or, especially, in the case of a bar’s ceiling which is actually the floor.
What tests knowledge and ingenuity to desperately survive and advance doesn’t make Escape Room nearly as enigmatically involving as, say, David Fincher’s similarly-themed 1997 The Game which starred Michael Douglas as a successful banker who goes through a lot from a seemingly harmless gift from his brother (played by Sean Penn) which he hesitantly accepts. A potential eerie retro brainteaser with interactive resonance here is a just a collapsible dream at the beginning of Hollywood’s new year.