Escape Room: Champions Tournament, 2021.
Directed by Adam Robitel.
Starring Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquerel, Holland Roden and Carlito Olivero.
In this installment, six people are inadvertently locked into another set of escape rooms, slowly revealing what they have in common to survive … and find that they’ve all played the game before.
Remember the getaways? In the post-Covid world, it’s easy to forget a time when locking in a room full of guests was the cornerstone of a fun night and not inherently a horror. Escape Room: Champions Tournament, a sequel to the 2019 surprise horrors Escape the room, is an unfortunate task to exist in a world that is long past the fad of the late 2010s escape room – on which the series had built its central trick. And yet, at no point while watching the movie did I have anything or even appear. If Escape rooms The goal was to get people into theaters based on how they feel about the escape room experience Champions tournament is fully committed to getting the butts in place because the public is familiar with the start-up franchise program.
With Champions tournament, the series deserves its name statement in the same sentence as Thus franchising (a comparison whose critics were eager to move back in 2019). Not only is it because the two horror franchises have a similar lineup – putting a bunch of suspicious, dynamic characters through a series of one-room room-based torture – it’s because they both double their own mythology.
Champions tournament, equipped with a highly sold premise that would have given itself to a new group of characters, the second batch, does not press the reset button; it doesn’t even belittle the events of the first film. It’s a rare studio horror film that strongly suggests that the viewer see the previous film before he or she sees the new one. The film begins with a one-minute lively roll of highlights from the first installment to catch new viewers, but it still largely expects viewers to be as familiar with their starting points and in love with their characters as it is.
The film picks up two surviving escape room participants from the first film, Taylor Russell’s Zoey and Logan Miller’s Ben as they try to track down Mino, the evil company responsible for their traumatic experience. Traveling to New York City, they fall into a trap that in turn puts them right in the middle of Minos ’escapes, except that this time they’re not playing a game with beginners. The six contestants have all played the game before and were the only ones to survive their groups. The ‘Champions Tournament’ begins, and Zoey doesn’t plan to play by the Gamemaster’s rules this time; It is his prerogative not only to survive the game, but to overthrow Minos once and for all.
There are few opportunities Exit room 2 overcoming critics of the first film, and even genre-type difficulties may delay the film’s bloodless, toothless, PG-13 horror instincts, but it would also be unfair to use any of the film’s more powerful flaws as a means to ignore its truly entertaining, sometimes subversive nature.
It’s a horror film based on a rarely researched question in films of the same type: what if the characters pushed into the game of life or death really like each other and trust each other? None of the six characters forced to take part in Minos ’next round of deadly escape rooms is disgusting and acts as an indirect antagonist. Everyone usually gets along, complains about the forces that face them against each other, and realizes that ‘teamwork’ is the word. It is the reverse example Saha V and the usual “it’s me or you” torture porn movies; Champions tournament is a film project about a film project where everyone has to do their part for a good grade.
Taylor Russell once again owns the screen, and another surprisingly tempered and nuanced performance is the soft but passionately determined Zoey. While his material to work with is less emotionally heavy this time around, his character’s righteous hatred of the game’s hidden strings, combined with compassion for his teammates and A +’s contributions to the team, makes it impossible not to take root.
Also otherwise Thus, Champions tournament is not malicious; it does not greet characters with excessive, blood-splattering deaths, or delights in its open cynicism. Continuing the chain that started with its predecessor in 2019, it’s a purely funny, intense (often very silly) popcorn movie that suggests that maybe people area want to leave torture porn with a bad taste in their mouth.
Generally, Exit room 2 is mostly a surface film, almost forgetting to be about other than escape from the escape rooms. Despite one early-onset scene that shows the lasting impact of the escape room experience on one of its survivors, the characters ’psychology and trauma aren’t really broken into the rest of the film – which is honestly absolutely fine. The film itself maintains a mostly brazen dedication to solving its own puzzles and competing towards its own finish line, stopping to map out its characters only when absolutely necessary.
Basically, the film understands that people are more interested in its complex escape room setups than any larger statement it has to make about grief or trauma, and decides to keep its focus firmly on such. The escape rooms in the sequel are as impossibly fun to watch our characters solve as the first ones, and given that every competitor is familiar with the game, there’s no learning curve for the word “go”. The elegant design and visual liveliness of the rooms make them ideal deceptive environments for the fear-filled temptations that await our characters in each new room.
In particular, one set that takes us inside an abandoned bank and the checkered floorboard in the middle of it is one of the most effective of the franchise to date. The scene combines the characters ’sense of cooperation and togetherness with the tensions of the clock as they try to solve the room before it’s too late.
That’s not to say that everything is stars, though. The film culminates midway with the aforementioned banking-themed room, and after the intensity of the pins and needles in this scene, struggles to earn the same level of investment and intensity again. The rest of the film feels like an unnecessary rush, as the film’s production schedule began to run out and it had to rush to the end.
In addition, director Adam Robitel likes to play with interesting concepts and twists without knowing what to do with them. In the film, for example, we meet Holland Roden’s Rachel, a character we learn as incapable of feeling the pain that, in the right hands, can be incredibly fruitful, twisted originality to explore. But its potential is little disappointing, and it is ultimately used as an offensive insight rather than as a tool to create a special, suitably intelligent piece around it.
Bigger, mythologically expanding twists later in the film, though all in the spirit of fun and audience entertainment, are also difficult for the film to justify or use in a satisfactory way, just outside of their existence.
Without spoilers, Champions tournament leaving the door open more in a way that would act as a fresh, unique twist in the franchise event. As long as the series digs and expands its own mythology and characters while offering its own brand of visually vivid and diverse comics, much should be expected. The Escape Room game series is certainly ridiculous, non-sensual, and light in content, but it’s also too much fun for all its blatant flaws to carry too much weight.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions arrives at movie theaters on July 16th.
Flickering myth rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★