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Escape Room

Escape Room, directed by Adam Robitel, provides plenty of thrills and action. The challenge of escape rooms, or escape games, makes them popular as team-building activities and entertainment for groups who want to test their problem-solving skills. In the movie, the participants work together but are also pitted against one another because the first person to escape will win a large cash prize. They are further motivated to succeed when they discover that failure is fatal.

Escape Room provides a nicely diverse ensemble of characters. Ben, played by Logan Miller (Before I Fall and Love, Simon), is introduced in an exciting opening scene in which he is working alone to get out of a clearly deadly room. We then flash back to a few days earlier and watch as Zoey, played by Taylor Russell (Lost in Space), a gifted but shy college student, receives her invitation to the Escape Room. Jay Ellis (Insecure) plays Jason, an aggressively successful financial advisor who is invited to play. Ben, now seen as a clerk in a dead-end job, also gets an invitation. We meet the other players as everyone shows up to participate in the game. Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) plays Amanda, a military veteran; Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs Evil) is Mike, a truck driver; and Nik Dodani (Atypical) is Danny, a game enthusiast who is particularly eager to face the challenge of this escape room.

The characters are relatable, and it is easy to root for a favorite to survive and win. The game, with its dangers and puzzles, provides suspense, but it is the interaction of the characters as their backstories are slowly revealed that keeps the movie interesting. Each room is more dangerous than the last. Each time the group escapes from one remarkable room into the next it is impossible not to cringe and wonder what they will find. The audience is looking for every clue right along with the Escape Room participants, and no hints or foreshadowing should be ignored. Everything is important.

The end of the movie provides an explanation. No lingering mysteries are left to ponder, just the promise of more action in a potential sequel. To equate it to a meal, it is a fast food burger-and-fries. Tasty enough at the time, although not particularly memorable once it is eaten.

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