‘Escape Room 2’ is a good sequel to a great imitation of ‘Saw’


If you liked Escape room, You will like Escape Game: Tournament of Champions. It might seem like an obvious statement, but there is a welcome consistency to this second go-around in Sony’s accidental horror franchise. Released in January 2019, Adam Robitel’s surprise hit ($ 155 million on a budget of $ 9 million) was a fine example of what I like to call the “rip off, don’t do it again” philosophy.

The top-tier horror thriller, a crowded PG-13 / tension-over-gore ensemble film was essentially “I saw 4 Kidz. However, it went its own way and artistically justified itself as a unique piece of popcorn entertainment. Among other things, it was probably the best “schlock horror film released the first weekend of the year” since Day breaker in 2010.

Not only has he won more in the world than almost everyone else Seen movie, but it has also become a horror franchise in itself. Delayed from April 17, 2020 due to the Covid, this budgeted monitoring of $ 15 million reinforces the idea of Escape room like its own thing. It shares many of the strengths of its predecessor and, frankly, some of its weaknesses when it comes to “franchise consolidation”.

Champions tournament starts with a lot of exposures and readjustments “for those who arrived late”. Taylor Russell’s Zoey Davis still manages to be one of the only survivors of the last film’s main traps, both trying to adjust to normalcy and still focused on revealing a global plot of similar deadly games. One thing leads to another, and she and fellow survivor Ben Miller (Logan Miller) find themselves in a seemingly death-rigged subway car, alongside four young adults who turn out to be former survivors.

The notion of former “winners” coming together and being forced to work together is a nice hook in and of itself, and not just a powerful sequel caption. However, through no fault of the cast, the personalities mix with everyone acting essentially the same in terms of young adult, traumatized and somewhat nervous survivors of the same age and economic status. In addition, since they are all survivors who know the rules, we lose (by default) a little of that sense of discovery that previous fighters exposed in terms of character.

But once the movie gets to where you want it to go, it shoots full blast to the climax, it’s true. I wish it was less suited to sequels, but I expected it, as that was my only big issue with the first movie. However, when your first movie gets decent reviews, a strong buzz, and 17 times its budget in theaters alone, you’re not fixing what apparently isn’t broken.

The PG-13 film is almost without gore. In addition, by not falling into a And then there was none model with a regularly scheduled death every ten minutes, the unpredictability of its set-up, its gains and its near-misses creates real suspense. There is bruised forearm tension over whether the elaborate “escape rooms” will call for a cast member, and genuine sadness when a victim won’t.

Although it is not exactly the Ted lasso horror movies, there is a unique optimism in watching this team of survivors relentlessly try to save each other and not just themselves. The sequel further solidifies the series as a horror franchise rooted in death avoidance rather than grotesque loss of life, making the periodic death sting even more painful. It’s a horror movie where the very idea of ​​an untimely death is tragic and horrific no matter how that life ends.

The traps themselves are bigger, more perilous, and often more wacky than in the first film. The expanded and “improved” traps are almost too frenetic and the pace too fast. There is less foreboding and grim realization as competitors have little time to take stock or make qualitative decisions before having to avoid the next fatal countdown.

Like some of the craziest Seen sequelae, the traps are sometimes too smart for their own good, with circumstances not leaving enough time for anyone to ‘make a choice’. Still, in terms of art direction and production design, the key locations get the job done. And the game’s cast (including franchise newbies Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel and Isabelle Fuhrman) commit to the track, while Escape room stands out more by rooting in its heroes rather than its villains.

While villains are essentially faceless corporate freaks, Taylor Russell’s Zoey Davis comes up with something akin to a ‘brand hero,’ as the entire cast offers a laid-back inclusion that would bring on a billion dollars. pieces of thought if this was a Disney superhero movie. Escape room 2 is a good example of how horror films have long been rooted in the stories of non-white protagonists and people of “lower” economic stature long before such diversity on screen became a topic of discussion media friendly. Escape room is a franchise (now two films) centered around a young black woman “just because”.

Escape room 2 doesn’t quite end on its best foot, spending too much time on an overly elaborate summary and sequel setup (very slight spoiler). I understand the reasoning, but the “passion play” elements are so effective that the film ends on a note of pity rather than excitement. But if it doesn’t start quite right and stick on landing, that split hour is absolutely perfect in terms of what it promises and what it delivers.

Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions is a shining example of what can happen when you take a formula and make it your own. You take Breaking point and trade the surf for the race and you get a ten movie franchise, over $ 6 billion. You take the Seen formula and tone down the gore and insist on problem solving and you get Escape room, which started as Vu Jr. but now stands alongside his cinematic ancestors.