This post contains mild spoilers for Escape Room.
January is, frankly, a dismal time at the movies if you've already seen the latest Star War or superhero joint or awards-baity prestige film and are looking for something to paste onto your eyeballs before the next Avengers movie comes out. Most years, January is where the cast-offs from the previous months are shunted while everyone else is busy doing their year-end catch-up marathons before the Oscars. But sometimes, very occasionally, a film comes along that is not only entertaining, but actually pretty good, and kicks off the new year just right. This year, that movie is Escape Room.
Escape rooms, the relatively new group party fad in which you and your friends are locked inside a room and must use clues hidden amongst trinkets and drib-drabs to find the key or the code that opens the door, have become wildly popular over the last few years, perfect for birthday parties or awkward team-building office outings. It was only a matter of time before escape rooms got the horror movie treatment, and, honestly, I can't think of more perfect fodder for a nice, tight thriller.
At the start of Escape Room, six people are invited, via mysterious puzzle boxes delivered to them in the mail, to test out an extra-special, immersive experimental escape room experience. If they find their way out, they win $10,000. Seems like a pretty chill way to spend a weekend, and shortly after they all arrive at the austere concrete building that houses the game, it begins. But, unlike real escape rooms, which may model themselves after zombie apocalypses and creepy hospitals, the stakes are real. If our heroes fail to escape the rooms of Escape Room, they die.