Escape Room (2017) is the first of two movies with the same name released in September 2017; the other had Evan Williams, while the one I saw had Skeet Ulrich. From what I got from watching the trailers for both, they are essentially the same movie.
When I first started watching the film, I was confused about what was happening as it begins with a desert scene in the Middle East with two men burying a box. I thought I had recorded the wrong movie; even the subtitles caused me to be anxious. I pressed the skip-forward button, confirming that the opening sequence was for the correct film.
The Gremlins reference, surprised me, from the shopkeeper where Brice gets the skull box that looked suspiciously like the one the men in the opening had buried. I wasn’t aware of any time/date difference between the two parts, but maybe many years had passed, and I missed the date stamp in the film. I don’t remember Skeet Ulrich being such a bad actor in The Craft or Scream; his skills were very rough in this one.
The movie tries too hard to bring 80s cheese, along with the plethora of 80s horror movie references, that it was just an annoyance. Then a switch flipped, which made the acting better and the cheese vanish, but the 80s horror movie references do not. The characters didn’t stick with me, though I was captivated when they began playing in the escape room, maybe that was when the flip happens, it’s bizarre. And finally, the closing scene with the shopkeeper’s long monologue that felt like she was reading it from cue cards for the first time.
Oddly, I liked this movie more than you’d expect from what I’ve said above. The gore is good, and the shocking surprise when the actor in the escape room starts killing the group of friends is amazing. If you find this movie with your video service, and it’s free, give it a go; otherwise, it’s not worth it.
I give Escape Room 2.5 out of 5 Stars.