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Film / Escape Room (2017)

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Escape Room is a 2017 horror/thriller movie directed by Will Wernick, and starring Evan Williams, Annabelle Stephenson, and Elisabeth Hower.

For Tyler's 30th birthday, his girlfriend Christen gets him an unusual gift: admission to a mysterious escape room event. As they enter with four friends, they find themselves trapped in bizarre rooms where they must solve tricky puzzles in order to advance. But Christen has disappeared, and Tyler is shocked to see her on a video monitor, naked and trapped in a cage while the seconds count down. When the cruel game begins to turn deadly, he realizes they may not all escape with their lives.

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Tropes used in Escape Room include:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: The surviving players crawl out of one of the rooms through the large ducts. Justified when it turns out that the vents are just another part of the game.
  • Arc Words: "It's all part of the game."
  • Deadly Gas: Conrad and Tabby are killed when the room they are in is filled an acidic gas that causes their flesh to dissolve.
  • Death Course: The entire escape room is a death course, with the occupants only having one hour to figure out all of the puzzles and escape. Even if a player does solve a puzzle, they might still be killed if they do not act quickly enough.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The movie spends a large amount of time at Tyler's party, introducing viewers to some fairly unpleasant yuppies, before it even reaches the escape room. Then there is more time arguing inside the escape room before the dying starts.
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  • The Ditz: Tabby has to count to work out that 'E' is the fifth letter of the alphabet.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie unfolds over the course of the night of Tyler's 30th birthday: beginning with protagonists having dinner in the early evening and ending just before dawn.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Anderson is killed by being sliced in half by a descending partition in the Air-Vent Passageway.
  • Hand in the Hole: The clues indicate that Tyler or Natasha will need to stick their hand in the mouth of the stuffed bear head on the wall in order to open the final door. Given everything they have encountered so far, they are reluctant to do so.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: When Christen escapes naked from the truck, she covers her breasts with her arms; not entirely successfully.
  • Hollywood Acid: Conrad and Tabby are killed by an acidic gas that causes their flesh to dissolve. Amazingly, they do not even notice till their flesh starts to slough off.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The events occur on Tyler's 30th birthday.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Opening what appears to be the final door to the escape room involves reaching inside a stuffed bear's head and pulling a handle to unlock the door. However, a person must remain holding the handle while the door is opened, and as the door is opened, a blade descends which will cut off the hand holding the handle.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The puzzles in the escape room are fiendishly complex, with very little provided in the way of clues to solving them.
  • Sadistic Choice: Tyler and Christen are each presented with a pair of buttons. One of them will save themselves, the other of which will save their partner.
  • Shameful Strip: Christen is captured, stripped naked and locked in a small cage where she is forced to crouch while her friends navigate the escape room. For further humiliation, images of her are broadcast to her friends inside the escape room.
  • Suicidal Sadistic Choice: Tyler and Christen are each presented with a pair of buttons. One of them will save themselves, the other one will save their partner.
  • Trapped in Containment: Conrad and Tabby are trapped in the autopsy room when the door locks on them. The other players can only watch helplessly through the observation window and the room fills with acidic gas, which causes them to dissolve.
  • Your Cheating Heart: As the film develops, it becomes apparent that Tyler and Natasha have had an affair in the past: one that Christen and Anderson know nothing about.


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