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Byron Shire
September 18, 2021

Cinema Review: Escape Room

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The action kicks off immediately with a fellow falling into a room where the walls start closing in on him, before then flashing back to show what led up to the mayhem. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the old ‘moving walls’ trick (was it Jimmy Olsen about to be pulverised?) that I was briefly transported to another age and missed much of the preamble of this gamer’s brain-strain. Not that the underpinning story is very important, although there is an ironic twist at the end. In the meantime there are six ‘players’, seemingly chosen at random, who find themselves trapped in a chamber that is heating to the point where they will be cooked alive if they cannot interpret subtle clues that will open the door to another room, where they will be confronted by another challenge… etc, etc. The guy from the first scene is there, along with a shy black girl, a woman who served in Iraq, a nerdy Indian(?) boy, a black executive, and a bloke with a beard. They are all sole survivors of accidents in which others lost their lives, so there is a reality-TV feel to it – a bit like Get Me Out Of Here, I’m A Celebrity, only with fatalities. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to foresee who will survive as, one by one, they fall victim to the fiendish traps set for them, but the visual cleverness of the movie is diverting enough. My favourite room was a bar in which everything is upside down and Petula Clark’s Downtown is being played on an endless loop (love that song!). As the gang’s number is whittled away, you inevitably begin to wonder what the point is, and who is overseeing their plight? It turns out that the mastermind (this is a spoiler, but the kids who will flock to this flick don’t read reviews) is creating games of ever-increasing bizarreness to cater to clients who want more and more… much like this type of film.

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