As a interactive mystery events company, when I explained why my vision for The White Tent Company was, I had a lot of people say "oh so like an escape room".
In truth that statement isn't entirely incorrect. We do have similar elements like problem solving, interacting with clues and even a games master character in each of our events.
However where we differ completely is in two main areas.
All of our puzzles are relevant to the story and relate to the theme (unlike nearly all of the escape rooms I've done.)
Unlike most escape rooms, our events include actors that you can interrogate throughout the experience to gather key pieces of information.
I have done a few escape rooms in my time, and totally enjoyed them. So when the trailer for Escape Room popped up on my Netflix suggestions, knew I was going to enjoy this movie.
Directed by Adam Robitel, and featuring a range of familiar faces including Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs Evil) and Nik Dodani (Atypical), the opening scenes that introduce the main characters gives you the sense that it's time to settle in and enjoy the ride. Which is exactly what I did.
The story follows six strangers who have come together under mysterious circumstances to play an escape room with the chance to win $10,00. However, after the first room, it becomes apparent that the aim of the game isn't what they first thought.
From the get go, the level of detail in this movie is impressive. Each room within the escape experience is full of intricate details that all combine to the feel of each room, including a few clues from Dr. Wootang Yu that link each room together.
It also soon becomes apparent that these rooms have been designed specifically for this group of people, with little nuggets of references to their past.
As far as acting goes, there is nothing really to complain about. Each character seems to be perfectly cast and totally believable, with a particularly great performance from both Amanda (Woll) and Mike (Labine). The Script was funny, engaging and full of puzzles that the audience needed to figure out along with the characters, making you feel as though you are in the escape room with them.
Sure there were a few clunky moments where you think, "as if that would happen". But this action thriller is so engaging that you suspend belief for a moment just to see what will happen to the group next.
What I really liked about this story was how in depth each character was, and how the game master used that to their advantage. The character development was predictable to a degree, but still enjoyable, with the biggest transformation coming from Zoey (played by Taylor Russell).
This film took inspiration from the Saw movies, a lot of research into real escape room puzzles, and added a sprinkle of action to form what was ultimately the perfect movie for any puzzle or low level thriller enthusiasts. Was it mind bogglingly amazing? Not really. Did I thoroughly enjoy it anyway? Hell yes!
I for one cannot wait to see what the second instalment has to offer.