Escape Room Revisit: How They Survived
6/17/2021 • 3 min read
With the pandemic finally winding down, activities we thought might be gone forever now have a new lease on life. One of many examples of this is the Escape Room phenomenon. Remember Escape Rooms? You and a group of friends — or if you were somewhat unlucky, co-workers on a team-building exercise — entered a themed room and had to solve a series of puzzles to escape before time ran out. Fortunately, the penalty for failure is not death.
For the characters in 2019's ESCAPE ROOM movie, however, things were a bit different. You only need to throw a little mortal danger into the mix for the concept to become a horror movie. ESCAPE ROOM was a horror movie based around games and novelty deaths, aligning it with the popular SAW series, and popular franchises like FINAL DESTINATION and CUBE.
Now, the sequel ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, is on the way. Let's look back at the original movie to see how things ended, and find the clues to how the events of that movie will affect characters in the sequel. (Note that spoilers for the first ESCAPE ROOM follow!)
Revisiting Escape Room
Unlike most Escape Room scenarios, the heroes/victims of the first ESCAPE ROOM movie were all strangers. Each solved a mini-puzzle on their own (which recalled HELLRAISER in some ways), and those puzzles revealed invitations to a special Escape Room competition. The winner would walk away with a million dollars — not bad for solving some puzzles!
Of course, once the characters got going, the rooms were far more lethal than those of a regular Escape Room. One player fell through ice, drowning in the water below. Another fell to their death in an upside-down billiards room with panels that opened to a cavernous drop. As their numbers dwindled, members of the group realized that they all had one thing in common: an escape from a traumatic disaster in their past. The games were designed to test who is the luckiest among them.
Eventually, only two contestants remained: Ben (Logan Miller) and Zoey (Taylor Russell). Ben met the Gamemaster, who, as his name implied, controlled the games. The whole thing was created by someone called the Puzzle Maker for the entertainment of wealthy viewers who bet on which player will make it out alive. Together Ben and Zoey killed the Gamemaster and escaped.
But Did They Escape?
In the aftermath of the games, Zoey and Ben returned to their lives but soon saw signs that perhaps they were still being monitored and manipulated by the Puzzle Maker. In particular, Zoey believed that she found a series of clues that would lead her and Ben to an unlisted building. Within may lie the answers they desire.
Of course, they were walking into another trap, which leads us to…
The Tournament of Champions
This year’s ESCAPE ROOM sequel will finish, or at least continue the story of Ben and Zoey. As indicated by the title, ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS appears to collect previous Escape Room survivors for an ultimate contest where only the smartest, luckiest and most ruthless players will walk away with their lives. Unlike last time, everyone in this film will have previous Escape Room experience on their side. But the challenge is also likely to be far steeper.
Will Ben and Zoey make it? Will they finally get to meet the nefarious Puzzle Maker? We’ll soon find out!
ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS opens on July 16!
All images courtesy of Sony Pictures.