Escape Room, A slightly little bit of trauma goes a good distance in “Escape Room: Match of Champions,” an adequate sequel to the underwhelming horror thriller “Escape Room.” In “Escape Room,” a bunch of youngsters is kidnapped and compelled to resolve a series of lethal logic puzzles. In the event that they succeed, the surviving teenagers enter the following themed room (a financial institution foyer, a picturesque seashore, a New York Metropolis aspect road), and hopefully advance to freedom. In “Escape Room: Match of Champions,” two of the earlier film’s gamers should full a brand new collection of escape room-style puzzles. The presence of this pair of former rivals—Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller), each of whom survived the primary “Escape Room”—instantly establishes this new film’s emotional stakes, as a result of no one desires to relive the identical nightmare twice.
Better of all, Zoey and Ben’s PTSD-like trauma is usually processed by way of the escape rooms’ steadily escalating puzzles as a substitute of their very own pouty, leaden dialogue. Survival is every little thing to Zoey and her teammates, and after they do have sufficient time to out-think a puzzle, that further wiggle room normally journeys them up worse than any death trap might. Evaluate that kind of rat-in-a-maze mentality with the inhuman and largely implied motives of the Minos Escape Rooms company, a generically clandestine group whose members are blessedly by no means represented past a negligible prefatory flashback. By contrasting the film’s resourceful adolescent contestants with their invisible tormentors, the makers of “Escape Room: Match of Champions” not solely hit the bottom working, but additionally set the stage for a sequel that’s virtually as nasty because it must be.
Zoey and Ben’s respective motives are easily sufficient: she desires to seek out and punish whoever’s behind Minos’ escape rooms whereas he desires to repay her for saving his life within the final film. They journey to Manhattan collectively, the place they’re quickly locked inside a booby-trapped Q practice with three different escape room survivors. Therefore the “Match of Champions” title, which is fortunately by no means dwelled upon. So Zoey and Ben team up with a brand new group of survivors, every considered one of whom is simply as on edge as they’re. This results in some appropriately melodramatic dialogue exchanges and some impetuous judgment calls, like when alcoholic robust man Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel) muscle mass his manner by way of a laser-beam-protected escape room (designed to appear to be a financial institution’s foyer) regardless that he doesn’t perceive the clues that can assist him to discover a secure path out of the room.
Ultimately, Zoey and her mates attempt and fail to get a step forward from Minos’ video games. Sadly, the game-players forward thinking doesn’t essentially assure their success since, most of the time, Minos’ reluctant contestant’s transfer or assume slower than they should. And if you happen to miss a step, don’t stick collectively, or just don’t transfer quickly sufficient—you can die. The important thing phrase being “might” since not figuring out what’s going to occur subsequent can also be a part of this film’s pressure. “Escape Room: Match of Champions” additionally strikes so quickly from one set piece to the following that it’s straightforward to forgive its filmmakers for principally masking and due to this fact over-editing their footage. Nonetheless, transferring at lightning pace has its advantages once you’re wading by way of a high-concept gauntlet that punishes you if you happen to attempt to advance too rapidly.
A clunky, however successfully imply rug-pull finale means that the “Escape Room” motion pictures, just like the “Saw” collection earlier than them, were all the time secretly about its characters. However the remainder of “Escape Room: Match of Champions” presents human characters as manic, disposable recreation items. Generally, Zoey and her mates’ greatest efforts simply aren’t adequate, and it reveals in scenes the place a door slams shut, or a ladder is withdrawn simply earlier than any individual can use it.
Neatly, not a lot of time is wasted on reminding viewers simply how threatening the film’s dying traps are—that’s what the death traps are for. As a rule, we watch as characters barrel by way of rooms with a resolve and anxiety-inducing pace that might in all probability solely be executed in a sequel, particularly given modern style filmmakers’ franchise-oriented mindset.
“Escape Room: Match of Champions” strikes at an alarming tempo, and that helps to ascertain simply how impersonal lots of the film’s traps are. Human error—or uncertainty—is the largest supply of pressure on this film, and it goes a good distance in the direction of making this sequel (slightly) greater than the sum of its flashy elements. You might not want one other “Escape Room,” however this new one is sweet sufficient to depart you wanting extra.