Will there be another escape room movie?
In January 2021, it was announced that the film's release date would be pushed back again, to January 7, 2022. The film was later moved up to July 16, 2021. wikipedia.orgEscape Room: Tournament of Champions
Before every top floor of a bar was transformed into an escape room marketed towards offices seeking team-building exercises, there were the claustrophobic movies that sparked them.
2019’s Escape Room proved a big hit revealing one of the most terrifying tales of a group trapped inside a puzzle. Its newly released sequel Escape Room: Tournament of Champions purports to build on the theme. If you liked the idea of terror being derived from life-dependant-puzzle-solving, then lucky you: there are lots of them. Think just hard enough, and scads of your favorites feel like an escape room; find the missing parts to fix the car and escape camp before getting killed by Jason Voorhees, follow Willy Wonka’s cryptic rules to get out of the chocolate factory alive, and so on.
Whatever your mood, we’ve got an escape room movie sure to captivate.
Saw (2004) is the escape room old faithful. This whole list could just be a chronicle of that franchise, but let’s just set you off on the right path with the first installment. The Saw canon is full up with some of the scariest, goriest, most difficult escape games and challenges horror films have ever seen. This one keeps it nice and simple; get out or else. There’s a distinct lack of gore in James Wan’s start to this franchise giant; much of the focus is on Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes) trying to solve the puzzles and GTFO. Things glow in the dark. Clues are hidden on toilets, and at some point, someone has to saw off a foot. You’ll be squinting to solve the puzzles and will absolutely be able to call someone to chat about it because they’ve for sure seen it.
Greg McLean’s 2016 offering, The Belko Experiment is arguably the best follower of Battle Royale. This feature fathoms an office turned into a combat zone. An unsuspecting group of colleagues working in a remote Colombian office are suddenly gated inside and given grim instructions; kill your co-workers or die. What sets off is a gruesome game of death that pits every employee at every level against each other. Factions form between executives and lower-level grunts, making interesting comments on cool-guy-middle-management allegiance. If you’ve ever dreamt of grabbing your stapler to bash in the skull of the guy who calls you from the golf course to check on your productivity, this might be a preferable outlet.
What if you could vote on who lived or died? In Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione’s Circle fifty people must reckon with that question. A group of strangers wakes up in a room, standing on circles. At timed intervals, a random circle delivers a shock that kills whoever is on it. The group quickly realizes they can select who will be next, and they set off analyzing the value of human lives, each with their own code of ethics. Each mentally connives to try to make it out alive. Many flicks about these deadly games force humanity to face how they value different people. Circle breaks it down to the base level. Who is worth saving? I dunno, probably yourself, I figure.
Let’s Make It Last
There’s virtue in tackling the strife associated with food inequality. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia terrifying 2019 feature, The Platform forces us to face down the barrel of inequity with a simple premise; a prison made up of levels, and a platform of food that travels down them. In timed intervals, roommates are swapped and moved to different levels. Those at the top dine on a lavishly prepared buffet. Those at the bottom get the leftover scraps. No one knows how to get out, but everyone has methods of surviving. The audience is taken to task, witnessing those at the top gorge themselves while those at the bottom wither away. Goreng (Ivan Massagué) takes on the futile position that there would be enough for everyone if they each only took what they needed. It’s a nasty portrait of mankind, plus a hilarious and terrifying mystery that keeps you wondering how to escape the experiment. If only.
Header Image Source: Sony Pictures
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18 July, 2021 - 04:10am
17 July, 2021 - 07:11pm
In Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, Zoey is hellbent on stopping Minos from trapping anyone else in their deadly puzzles. With Ben by her side, she travels to New York to dig deeper into the mystery of this nefarious organization, but while there, they unknowingly walk right into another string of rooms, but this time, they’re playing with other Minos Escape Room survivors.
“I wanted to do something radically different, to be honest, initially. I wanted to do a villain origin story. I knew that I wanted to do a Zoey/Ben revenge story, but I wanted to do sort of like a behind the scenes father/daughter puzzle maker story. The problem is, what I found was splitting that into two different storylines was just too much content, too much story to tell. It would have to be its own one-off as an anthology. It was pushing a boulder uphill, you know what I mean? To try to get that done. Look, maybe down the line! What I also should say is, as much as the audience wants to know behind the scenes and who Minos is, the more you dramatize them, even if you had Anthony Hopkins, it still lessens their mystique and it’s better to keep them veiled and I think I had to learn that a bit the hard way.”
“With this movie, I think the cool thing is we expand the world, the idea that it’s not just that one game in Chicago that we saw in the first movie. It’s happening all over the world - that your entire life is unreliable. That maybe you don’t have agency over the choices you make. I think after the pandemic in particular, we all feel that maybe there’s a supernatural force influencing our lives and taking things away from us. So I think that’s what I’m hoping the audience will take away from it, this idea of free will and do we really have agency over our lives?”
“Look, I’ll be completely candid. This was really rushed and I would have loved more time. Because one of the things that we got from market research is that people really enjoy participating in the game. The problem with that premise is the pacing of a movie really suffers. If I’m cutting to a close-up of a clue and you’re looking, ‘No, no. Go over there! Go over there,’ you’re ahead of the characters, right? And so it’s that fine line of you want that breakneck pace, but you also want to give these easter eggs. I don’t know that I completely nailed it because it was definitely a fast and furious process, but it’s tricky.”
Eager to hear more from Robitel? We’ve got you covered in that department! This right here is only half of our Escape Room: Tournament of Champions conversation. We’ll have the spoiler heavy portion of our chat for you soon.
17 July, 2021 - 01:16pm
Escape Room director Adam Robitel returned to helm Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, in which Zoey and Ben find themselves once again ensnared by the sinister Minos Corporation. While searching for evidence to prove that Minos was responsible for the deaths of the first game's players, the two survivors become trapped in a new series of escape rooms. They're joined by other "champions" of previous Minos escape rooms, played by Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Carlito Olivero and Thomas Cocquerel - and there's a surprise character return from the first Escape Room movie as well.
Sony Pictures has yet to officially announce Escape Room 3, but between the cliffhanger at the end of Tournament of Champions and a decent start at the box office, odds of a threequel being green lit are good. Here's everything we know so far about Escape Room 3.
At the end of the second round of Minos escape rooms, the four new players that Zoey and Ben meet - Rachel, Brianna, Nathan and Theo - have all been killed in one way or another by the traps... or have they? The surprise return of Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda, who supposedly plunged to her death in the first escape room movie, emphasizes that any death that goes unseen may not have actually happened. Since the Escape Room movies are PG-13, the deaths are not particularly gory and some leave the door open for a possible return.
The ending of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions sets up Taylor Russell and Logan Miller to return as Zoey and Ben in Escape Room 3. Woll's character is also still alive and being forced to work for Minos, who have kidnapped her daughter. Thomas Cocquerel, who plays Nathan, could potentially return, since it was revealed that the quicksand trap isn't necessarily deadly. And while Brianna and Rachel appeared to be melted by the acid rain trap, that could also have been a trick by Minos. Amanda's return has effectively opened up the possibility of almost any cast members coming back in a future sequel.
Escape Room 3's story has been set up to continue Zoey and Ben's efforts to escape and take down Minos, but the traps themselves have also been set up to be even weirder and more elaborate. Tournament of Champions presented the idea that anything from a subway car to a plane could be a cleverly disguised escape room, meaning that Escape Room 3 could make its puzzles and sets even bigger and more complex than anything in the first two movies.
17 July, 2021 - 09:27am
With that kind of return on investment, an Escape Room 2 became inevitable, and sure enough, one was quickly greenlit. Tournament of Champions ended up going down a bumpy road to release though, suffering multiple delays due to the Coronavirus pandemic that - among many other things - threw Hollywood's release plans out the window. Only now is the schedule of new movies starting to stabilize. It remains to be seen if Escape Room 2 will prove to be the financial juggernaut the original was, but Sony certainly hopes so.
Like the original movie, Escape Room 2 comes complete with several interesting, and sometimes surprising plot twists as the titular game unfolds. Perhaps the biggest of these is the shocking return of Amanda (played by Deborah Ann Woll, Daredevil's Karen Page), who appeared to fall down a long shaft to her certain demise last time out. It turns out she's still very much alive, and fans will initially be glad to see her. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there.
Unfortunately, the Amanda seen in Escape Room 2 is a mentally broken shell of her former self, having been forced by the evil corporation Minos into constructing the game that Zoey, Ben, and the new players find themselves inside. The goal is to use her to convince Zoey to join Minos and design future games. While she worked with them under duress in order to protect her endangered daughter Sonya, this compliant Amanda is still a bit hard to root for, and doesn't feel like the same character at all. While it's unclear if she survives the sequel, her sad fate also feeds into another big problem with Escape Room 2: the ridiculous power level and world-manipulating capabilities of Minos. When Amanda insists to Zoey that she has no hope of ever beating Minos, and then basically turns out to be right, at least for now, it leaves the viewer less looking forward to an Escape Room 3 and more wondering what the point is in watching another futile attempt at heroism.
17 July, 2021 - 05:58am
It follows Zoey and Ben as they once again find themselves in Minos’ twisted game of escape rooms with other survivors. As their fight for survival reaches the last stage, almost everything we thought we knew is up for questioning. If you were left puzzled by the movie’s ending, don’t worry, we are here to sort out the pieces and form a clear picture for you. Here’s what goes down in the ending of ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ picks up sometime after the events of the previous film. Zoey is seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma from the escape room games. Her therapist asks Zoey what it would take for her to move on, and she replies seeing Minos brought to justice will help her come to terms with what happened. Later, she meets up with Ben, and they decide to travel to Manhattan, NYC. Zoey thinks an unlisted industrial building in Manhattan might be the base of Minos, where they could find proof to take down the evil company. Ben agrees to join her, but the duo drives to the city instead of taking a flight.
Near the building, a homeless stranger steals Zoey’s compass. Zoey and Ben chase the stranger through a subway station onto a subway train but are unable to get off before the train begins to move. Quickly, they realize that the subway cabin they are in is another escape room puzzle. The other passengers, Rachel, Brianna, Nathan, and Theo, are also survivors from different games. The group is trapped inside the subway cabin with no option but to play along.
As the group progresses through the first escape room, Theo is electrocuted and dies. Next, the remaining players find themselves in a bank-like escape room armed with lasers that are activated by stepping on certain tiles on the way to the exit. The entire group manages to make it out of this challenge alive. In the next challenge, which has a beach setting, Nathan sacrifices himself to save Rachel. Zoey finds an alternative exit, and Ben and Rachel follow her while Brianna takes the regular exit.
However, before he can reach the exit at the top of the lighthouse, the ladder shuts down, propelling Ben to fall into the collapsing room. Brianna, Zoey, and Rachel find themselves in an escape room that looks like a busy Manhattan street. Zoey is the only one who manages to escape as Brianna and Rachel get caught up in the acid rain. In the final escape room, a big revelation takes place. Amanda, who seemingly died in the previous film, is alive and actually designed the escape room puzzles for Minos. Amanda reveals that Minos kidnapped her daughter, Sonya, and forced her to become their architect.
We also learn that Ben is alive and trapped inside a glass cage connected to the final room. Amanda tells Zoey that Minos wants her to become their new architect and is using Ben as leverage. When Zoey refuses, Ben’s cage starts to fill with water. Before he can drown, Amanda helps Zoey to rescue Ben. The trio makes it out alive from the Minos warehouse and alerts the police. In the end, Rachel, Theo, Nathan, and Brianna have seemingly perished. However, we never actually see any of them die except for Theo. Nathan’s fate is similar to Ben’s, and the latter’s survival could mean that Nathan is also alive. Given that Amanda didn’t die in the previous film, Rachel and Brianna could also have potentially survived since their dead bodies are never shown.
In the end, a law enforcement officer in charge of the case tells Zoey and Ben that they have sufficient proof against Minos thanks to Amanda’s testimony and the trio’s actions. Zoey and Ben are relieved to learn that those behind the horrible and twisted gladiator-style games will be held accountable. Believing the worst is behind them, they get on a plane. However, Zoey begins to question the series of events and realizes that they are inside another escape room. This is confirmed when the voice of the Gamemaster is heard mocking Zoey.
This plane-like escape room is most likely the simulator that we see at the end of the previous film. This hints that the entire ordeal was a trap set by Minos to get Zoey on the plane. The reason for Minos’ vigorous pursuit of Zoey isn’t exactly clear, but her ability to save others likely has something to do with it. It is possible that Minos wants to use Zoey’s skills to design escape rooms from which only one survivor will emerge. Thus, Zoey will help Minos remove the limitations of their escape rooms. We might get more answers in a potential sequel, but for now, we are sure that Zoey and Ben are inside another escape room puzzle.
The ending also highlights the scope of Minos’ operations. In the movie, we get a glimpse of the extent Minos goes to to blur the lines between reality and escape rooms. However, the final scene hints that the warehouse where the various escape rooms are kept inside shipping containers is a fake. The police station is likely also a trick, as is the news report that exposes Minos. The ending suggests that Minos carefully connects their escape rooms to real-world elements, which creates a sense of paranoia in the players’ minds. Thus, not only does the ending set up an exciting sequel but also underlines how truly devious and powerful Minos is.
In the third act, we learn that Minos is forcing Amanda to work for them. Her only hope of freeing herself is for Zoey to replace her as the architect. Zoey refuses, and Amanda is visibly distressed by this. However, she helps Zoey in rescuing Ben. We see her come out of the warehouse with the duo, but we do not see her at the police station. The officer in charge of the case mentions that Amanda has given her testimony to the police.
However, the entire police station setup is a potential ruse, and it is possible that Amanda went right back into Minos’ captivity. There is also a tiny chance of her escaping, but given that Minos has her daughter, she might have no option but to play along with the company’s plans. Nonetheless, Amanda’s absence in the final scene maintains the air of mystery around her character. We know for sure that Amanda is alive and probably knows more about Minos than she has let on.
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17 July, 2021 - 04:22am
Meáin Náisiúnta Seirbhíse Poiblí na hÉireann
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions director Adam Robitel has told RTÉ Entertainment he came back to make the sequel to Escape Room because he didn't learn his lesson after the challenges of the first film.
Robitel's follow-up to his 2019 box office hit pits survivors Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) against the nefarious Minos Escape Rooms Corporation on trains, beaches and downtown streets as they fight for their lives.
When asked what the first film had taught him, Robitel laughed: "I should never make an Escape Room movie because they're so impossibly difficult and challenging was probably my takeaway. I should have listened to myself!"
"They're just really hard movies to make," he explained. "The rooms themselves are so challenging. You have six actors in a space; you have some crazy element, whether it's going to be rain or lasers. So, they're super challenging but they're super fun."
Robitel continued: "I think the main thing I came out of the success of the first movie [with] was, 'If there's going to be a sequel, we have to expand the world to make it bigger, 'badder', 'meaner''.
"In this movie, I really tried to say that the organisation behind the game, they can manipulate your life, they can pull you in when they want to. Even the idea of free will and your own choices is all a lie, and I thought that was a really cool thematic thing.
"I think people now coming out of Covid feel like that there are forces beyond their control, beyond their agency. So, those are the kind of broad-stroke things I wanted to do with the sequel - and give the audience some cool thrills again, ultimately."
For the filmmaker, "the hardest room was certainly the beach".
"We did it all practically," he recounted. "We had 20,000kg of sand. We shot it in South Africa and they brought in all this sand on these massive trucks. The set was built on a rostrum, like six feet off the floor. It smelled like a dead crab.
"The special effects team, they went in underneath the sand and they would aerate it with these hoses and it would liquify. After about a minute, the actors start to sink. It was kicking up sand in people's faces, people's corneas were being scratched.
"So, it was challenging [but] I'm glad we did it practically. The pier itself was on hydraulics so it could sink; the crab shack was on hydraulics so we could roll it - it was sort of like an old school, Universal backlot stunt show in a way."
Robitel concluded that he wouldn't rule out putting himself in the Escape Room world again.
"I never say never," he said, "but I'm going to do some TV next. We'll see. I'm looking forward to some more storytelling. I have a show I'm going to do next with Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), actually. There's no sand!"
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is in cinemas now.
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