SCREAMING AT ESCAPE ROOM FLICKS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! If you’re claustrophobic, hate riddles, or rather gargle glass than solve puzzles, then you probably ain’t a fan of escape room attractions. Seems to be one of the biggest fads of the 21st century so far, and their numbers continue to grow ‘cross the world as more and more yahoos get their kicks payin’ strangers to lock them in a room with clues that will supposedly release them before a set deadline. It doesn’t take a lot to imagine this scenario as a perfect set-up for a horror movie, and plenty of filmmakers have done just that with varyin’ degrees of success. Makes us wonder how this whole craze got started . . .

At first, we thought Saw might have inspired it all with its story ’bout two guys chained in a gloomy basement full of clues that could help them escape. That’s what we instantly thought of, at least, the first time someone explained what an escape room was to us years ago. To our surprise, however, the origin of escape rooms actually stems from video games.

Blindly throwin’ our trust into the fallible resources of wikipedia, seems the concept of an escape room was first conceived ’round the late ’80s with escape-the-room themed computer games. These point and click adventures then blew up in 1993 with the arrival of the CD-ROM Myst games which took the buddin’ sub-genre a major leap forward with fully interactive puzzle solvin’ environments players could immerse themselves in. From what little research we’re willin’ to do, we can’t find any evidence these games influenced Saw‘s story, which the filmmakers claim was actually inspired by their limited resources, but the similarities Saw shares with escape rooms is there. Regardless, we still think Saw had to have partly stirred some folks’ interests in escape rooms as a pastime, and help develop it from TV and computer screens to a live-action experience.

Escape rooms really started catchin’ on toward the late 2000s as small business and megachain corporations alike were exploitin’ this novel attraction. To compete and stand out from other escape room businesses, companies kept tryin’ to up the ante with more interactive puzzles and crazy themes gamers could pretend to escape; prisons, mummy’s tombs, locked down labs with actors playin’ hungry zombies on chains – you get the picture. It was without question escape rooms would eventually become their own sub-genre of horror, remindin’ audiences of booby trapped escape flicks like the Cube trilogy, the Saw series, and maybe even The Collector movies.

With the premier of the newest escape room flick, Escape Room (such an original title ain’t it?), we’d like to share what few escape room horrors we’ve seen up to this point to compare this newest movie to.

ESCAPE ROOM (2017)

If you take all the grit and twists out of SAW, you get this flick ’bout a rich bunch of yahoos celebratin’ a friend’s birthday in a hush hush escape room that turns out to be some sicko’s unfair game of elaborate booby traps. This film looks amazin’ and boasts some creative kills, but there’s a major lack of tension ’til the last half of the movie, and the endin’ falls flatter than street pizza with accusations and/or reveals that go over my skull. Blind trust birthdays, folks guillotined in the vents, complex puzzle solvin’, crushed wrists, acid shower make-out scenes, caged nudies, stabbin’s, and poisonin’s! 3/5!   

NO ESCAPE ROOM (2018)

A travelin’ daddy daughter duo check into a small town’s escape room with other tourists for fun but eventually figure out they’re all stuck in some haunted time travel experiment with a ghost or somethin’ after them that’s never really explained enough. This is one of them frustratin’ kind of Syfy movies that has a lot of promise but ultimately drops the ball with the escalation of danger draggin’ its feet, scenes spinnin’ its wheels with the same ol’ actions, and me not understandin’ the exact nature of who or whatever’s after the players. Not a bad movie, but you may as well watch folks escape those Cube movies for a more satisfyin’ story. Guts full of keys, severed toilet bowl hands, creepy corpses, offscreen creatures, shadow people, hidden clues, haunted houses, time loops, time travel, ventilation crawlin’, blood drippin’, ghosts I think, calls from the future, hangin’s, wet sirens that are really chain entanglin’ gears, A-Ha paintin’s, time trippin’ restrooms, yanked fingernails, and never drink the complimentary tea! 3/5!

ESCAPE ROOM (2019)

Like nearly every other escape room movie I’ve ever seen, a gang of strangers are mysteriously invited to escape six puzzle rooms for money, but learn soon enough the danger is real, and they gotta be smart or be dead before time runs out. The difference between this and all the other Saw inspired knock-offs, however, is this flick has an ass-load of money behind it and elevates the scope and tension of the rooms and their traps like I’ve never seen before, easily makin’ this the best escape room themed flick I’ve seen to date. That said, as wildly creative as the rooms are, the deaths aren’t anythin’ memorable, even with an all-star cast keepin’ you on the edge of your seat with their performances. Oven baked rooms, freezin’ wilderness simulations, explodin’ ice, upside down bars, musical floors, electric shock paddle deaths, gassed infirmaries, bullets to the head, crushin’ walls, ball trippin’ rooms, needle stickin’, fatal freefalls, and stabbin’s! 4/5!

Reads like the same story over and over again, don’t it? Guess somethin’ with this simplistic of a plot can only have so many outcomes, which burdens the actin’ and creativity behind the danger with how successful one of these flicks can be.

Now, as far as we know, of all the escape rooms reported ’round the world, there’s only been one recorded incident that resulted in a death, and that was just a few weeks ago. An escape room in Poland had a gas leak and five 15-year-old girls suffocated in a fire 1/4/2019. While it’s not the work of some psychopath, these deaths still created a shockwave through the escape room community (specifically Poland) regardin’ safety hazards, and several have been shut down after failin’ inspections.

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

For all you fearmakers out there workin’ on your next scary feature, remember to shoot it our way as an entry in our Scream Freak Film Contest! Three winners will be reviewed in our 50th episode and promoted to all the Scream Freaks lookin’ for the next big thing Hollywood’s too scared to capitalize on. The deadline is open ’til we publish our 49th episode!

And remember to deface your calendars for Screaming Soup!’s first official convention appearance at Mad Monster Party Carolina Feb. 22-24 2019 where you can meet and greet the talents behind your favorite animated horror host show for free autographs!

See ya later, Scream Freaks!

 

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