Review: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions keeps blood pumped through your body instead of the screen – below the line
2019 Escape room was a pleasant surprise, as it took something that had become such a big part of public consciousness – escape rooms – and used this fun hobby towards the simple idea of a bunch of aliens being forced to work to escape in order to survive and get $ 10,000. But if you don’t survive, well, you’re dead.
The following, Escape Game: Tournament of Champions, takes that premise and increases the stake with an equally simple and logical addition – those who survived Minos’ previous lethal escape rooms are pitted against each other in the same way as the Jeopardy: Tournament of Champions. Oh, except all of the previous survivors except one will now die.
At the end of the previous one Escape room, the survivors Zoe (Taylor russell) and then (Logan miller) were plunged back into another deadly situation, as they decided to take revenge for what the evil company Minos had done to them. The plan was to get to their headquarters in New York City, but instead they drive, and when they get to town, they end up in a subway car with four other people, only to find out he’s got it. Actually acts from another escape room of Minos, an electrified.
There’s not much more to say about the plot from there, as either you like the sets created with these interrogative escape rooms, where being able to decipher and solve clues literally means the difference between life and death. Russell and Miller are joined by four other decent actors, and there’s a similar focus on characterization that really makes you love new people and doesn’t want any of them to die. In this way, it’s very different from other horror movies like the Seen or Final destination of movies where many characters deserve death, the more gruesome the better. It also makes Escape room different from typical horror movies that always go for the bloodiest murders, the chance to turn your stomach is avoided.
Director Adam robitel is back for the sequel, and it does an even more exemplary job of creating the tension the film needs to really keep the viewer on edge. Every step or decision could lead to almost certain death, and just when reluctant gamers think they’ve figured something out – and let’s face it, they’re A LOT smarter than any of us would figure out. most of these clues – the rules are changed, and the conditions are made harder or harder to escape in one piece.
As with the first film, Production Designer Edouard Thomas is the absolute star of the Robitel team, and for how many horror movies can you say that? (Possibly the 2001 remake of 13 ghosts? And the Seen movies?) Locations and theaters are also ingenious from a filmmaking standpoint, as they seem just as impossible to see onscreen as they do in competition, and as time passes various elements click and fall into place to make things even more dangerous. Even knowing what needs to be involved in creating some of these environments and all the moving parts, the sets get even more complicated as the going goes. (I certainly didn’t want to gloss over the perfectly refined additions to the cast of Robitel and what they bring. Unfortunately, they just add water to the mill where you already know not to be too much. bond with anyone, with the movie still being Zoey and Ben’s Journey.)
It is assumed that there is a fair degree of visual effects involved in making these rooms ‘work’, but Robitel’s double DoPs, Georges amos and Marc Spicer, and editors Steve mirkovich and Pierre Pav, find a way to film and edit all shots and angles to make the most tense moments run smoothly. In other words, the whole team knows exactly what they’re doing, and it’s more impressive when you realize that probably most, if not all, of the posts were made during the pandemic.
Fortunately, the sequel also has another great score by Brian tyler, this time working with John carey, and while it’s very different from anything Tyler has done recently, it’s probably the most crucial part of that tension mentioned earlier.
Even more than the first movie, you get a sense of how evil and downright evil the Minos Corporation is – there’s a pretty big twist about that too – and some might be disappointed that this chapter ends in a cliffhanger as well, leaving Zoe and Ben for revenge while waiting for another potential movie. In some ways, the Final destination films did the same thing but rarely had the same cast. Sure, that leaves you hungry for more, but how many times can you keep viewers happy without delivering a satisfying resolution?
Escape Game: Tournament of Champions successfully propels you through yet another round of deadly fast-firing escape rooms that rarely release, keeping your heart rate pumping and leaving you wanting more of that particular kind of adrenaline. For sheer entertainment value, this is one of the best suites this summer.
Escape Game: Tournament of Champions can ONLY be seen in theaters nationwide, starting Thursday afternoon July 15.
All photos are courtesy Sony Pictures.