This February, you’re invited to play for your life! From the producers of the Fast & Furious series comes Columbia Pictures’ Escape Room, a psychological thriller about six strangers who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must use their wits to find the clues or die.
You find yourself in a room – no windows, only one door, and it’s locked. The madman who’s locked you in has set up a series of fiendishly clever and difficult puzzles that, when solved in the correct order, will lead to the key and your salvation. And to add to the difficulty, he’s set a ticking clock, with one hour to complete the puzzles and escape… or face the consequences.
What sounds like a horror movie is one of the fastest-growing entertainments in the world: the escape room phenomenon. Armed with only your wits – and the variety of strengths of the people in the room with you – players have been cracking codes, deciphering enigmas, and unlocking hidden caches as quickly as they can. Each room has a secret plot, with players piecing it together as a fun, team-building experience. Since the dawn of the concept in 2010, escape rooms have popped up all over the world at an amazing rate by satisfying human nature’s hunger for fun and escape from reality.
When producer Ori Marmur tried out an escape room with his family, he saw the potential for a film – and because audiences worldwide have embraced the concept, it could be a film whose themes had global appeal. “I thought it was very immersive and incredibly fun, sort of a living boardgame,” he says. The project seemed to be a natural fit with a classic locked-room mystery setup, and with producer Neal H. Moritz, he began to shepherd the project. Quickly, they hit on a way to raise the stakes, making the ultimate escape room: one that is not only hyper slick and incredibly dangerous – when the clock runs out, it means death.
“You have to be using your brains when you’re in these rooms because the people who created the rooms want us to die one by one,” says actor Jay Ellis. “You’re constantly trying to figure out what’s wrong, where you can or can’t step, and what’s actually the way out – versus what could be just a distraction.”
According to Marmur, the filmmakers saw a way to make a film that played with the conventions of the genre – to make a film that played out as much as a psychological thriller as a horror film. “It was an opportunity to do something fun. This is a genre where everything usually happens at night and the visuals aren’t always compelling – it leaves a lot to your imagination,” he says. “We went the other way; the movie has incredible sets with arresting visuals and an experience of the story that is very much like experiencing an escape room in real life. The audience can feel like they are inside of the movie and figure out the puzzles and the riddles with our actors.”
In Philippine cinemas February 27, Escape Room is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Use the hashtag #EscapeRoomMovie