Escape Room follows several strangers (including Taylor Russell’s Zoey, Deborah Ann Woll’s Amanda, and Logan Miller’s Ben) as they arrive at a mysterious location after receiving an equally mysterious invitation, with the narrative detailing the characters’ ongoing (and progressively frantic) efforts at extricating themselves from a series of deadly rooms. It’s a fairly intriguing premise that is, at the outset, employed to better-than-expected effect by filmmaker Adam Robitel, as the director, working from a script by Bragi F. Schut and Maria Melnik, delivers a stylish and compelling opening stretch that’s anchored by an almost uncommonly strong cast of characters (ie these aren’t the bland, one-note protagonists usually associated with movies of this ilk). The novelty of the film’s central conceit keeps things interesting for a while, to be sure, and yet it’s just as clear that a certain monotony sinks in somewhere around the midway point – as the second act is devoted exclusively to scene after repetitive scene of the surviving heroes solving a series of puzzles. Such concerns become moot as Escape Room charges into its twist-laden and thoroughly engrossing finale, with the effectiveness of this section of the proceedings ensuring that one can’t hope that sequels are forthcoming.
*** out of ****