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Film / Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

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Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a 2021 psychological horror film and a direct sequel to Escape Room (2019), with Taylor Russell and Logan Miller reprising their roles as Zoey Davis and Ben Miller respectively, joined by Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquerel, and Carlito Olivero. It was released on July 16, 2021 after several COVID-19 delays.

Six months after the events of the first film, Zoey and Ben decide to take the fight to Minos themselves by tracking their headquarters in New York City, only to find themselves stuck in another one of their deadly escape rooms. Now joined by four other people, all of whom are also survivors of previous Escape Room challenges, the group must find a way to solve the puzzles once again before it's too late.

The home release, released on September 21, 2021, includes an "Extended Cut" that features a slightly different plot and restores Isabelle Fuhrman and James Frain to the film (both were cut in the theatrical release).

The film provides examples of:

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    Theatrical Cut 
  • All According to Plan: The premise of the film is that the coordinates hidden in Minos’ logo are themselves a trap, to lure in any survivors for another game. And, as it turns out, Ben and Zoey are far from the only ones who managed to escape. In short, there really is no way out.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Zoey, Ben, and Amanda escape from the game safely, with staff from Minos apprehended and everything going smoothly afterward. Zoey then asks Ben to fly back with her. Unfortunately, this is all a ruse as the plane converts to another room and the credits roll.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The sequel repeats this several times, with the third room looking like an expansive beach until the players use a polaroid camera to take a picture of the horizon, at which point the illusion fades and they can see the ocean and sky are clearly painted on the walls. The fourth room is deliberately made to look like a busy downtown city street to make the players think they escaped, but the background is actually just a hologram.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: In reality, hydrochloric acid is extremely potent to the point where the fumes alone can cause breathing problems along with skin and eye irritation. Yet in the City Streets room, the participants display no such symptoms and are able to step on the ground and pavement that are literally wet with acid without it melting or eating through their shoes. Special mention goes to when Rachel and Brianna are locked out of the cab, and futilely pound on the windows and cab as if it was just dripping with water. Also, strong acid has enough of a smell that Zoey and Rachel should've noticed it when they emerged, ruining the illusion that they'd reached freedom.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Just after managing to expose Minos, Zoey and Ben discover too late that their flight home is actually yet another escape room - an updated version of the one seen at the end of the first film.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ben wakes up from a nightmare about his hotel room becoming an escape room that threatens to crush him alive.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: As the title indicates, the players are all survivors of previous escape room challenges who are forced to partake in a new game. Since the players are all skilled contestants, the rooms are even more merciless than in the last film.
  • The Con: At the end, Zoey begins to worry that the police station they were at with the FBI agent telling them they were raiding Minos places, was all part of another big setup. The ending confirms she may well be right.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Zoey recounts the deaths of the escape room players in her groups...and she later discovers that one of those who seemingly died was actually captured.
    • The entrance to the 8 Ball Bar, which was one of the escape rooms Zoey went through, can be seen in the acid rain escape room.
  • Crisis of Faith: Nate is a priest who starts the film sneaking some booze in his jacket. By the second room, he starts to get suicidal and nearly kills himself as well as makes the escape effort much more difficult. By this time, he comes to have renewed faith and pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Rachel in the next room.
  • Defiant to the End: When Brianna and Rachel are locked out in the open and about to be killed by acid rain, a calm Rachel urges a terrified Brianna to not "give them the satisfaction" and to face their death with dignity, urging her not to give their watchers any kind of show.
  • Developer's Foresight: In the beach room, Zoey finds an apparently unintended exit on the sun/moon next to the lighthouse, making it seem like she's found a way to go Sequence Breaking. However, it automatically leads to the next room anyway.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A small moment in the first room, when Brianna finds a rubber lining in a bag that the group can use to safely grab the metal handles. When she asks for keys to cut it, Theo throws her a pair. To reiterate: he throws a set of metal keys in an electrified train car. The keys are zapped (narrowly missing the other participants) and fried, and Brianna throws a quick What the Hell, Hero? Theo's way.
    Brianna: Does anyone wanna HAND me keys?!
    Theo: (sheepishly) My bad.
  • Disney Death: Ben seemingly dies when the beach room sinks in quicksand. He later shows up locked in a small prison to be used as blackmail against Zoey; if she refuses to obey Minos, his cage will be filled with water. Amanda is also revealed to have survived the events of the previous film.
  • Drowning Pit: Ben is trapped in one by Minos after failing to escape Hourglass Bay. Minos threatens to drown him in front of Zoey if she does not surrender, join the company and make new escape rooms. Zoey and Amanda manage to come up with a way to free Ben by using fire to break the glass through which they see him.
  • Dwindling Party: Much like the first film, nearly every room kills at least one member of the group. Zoey and Ben are once again the only survivors, with Amanda having been revealed to be alive as well.
  • Due to the Dead: When Theo dies in the first room, Nate takes a moment to rearrange his body in a peaceful position and close his eyes. It also functions as Five-Second Foreshadowing, as he reveals only a few minutes later that he's a priest.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After Zoey and Ben survive the events of the film, the police finally seem to have a lead on Minos, and it looks like the organization will finally be brought down. However, once on the flight home, Zoey encounters a woman she assumes to be her therapist, and soon gas begins to fill the plane, with a Gamemaster taunting Zoey for falling into Minos' trap.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After Zoey gets into the cab that renders her safe, Brianna and Rachel follow her, only for both the taxi door and the phone booth that kept them safe to instantly close and lock. Brianna starts to freak out (and a desperate Zoey tries kicking out the taxi window in vain) while Rachel calmly tells her to "not give them the satisfaction" as both of them huddle together and are killed by the following acid rain storm.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Theo is the first casualty of the group, and one of the things he says is that he has a wife who's waiting for him to come to her birthday party that day.
  • Feel No Pain: Rachel has a microdeletion in one of her genes that prevents her from feeling physical pain. (A real-life, albeit rare, medical condition.) This is what got her noticed by Minos, who put her in a set of rooms with other people with similar conditions to see if their lack of pain made a difference in surviving the rooms.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Early in the film, there are hints that the whole movie is set up by Minos. With the therapist claiming that "everything is a clue." and asking Zoey "What is it gonna take to get you on that plane?" Given the ending of the last movie, we know Minos hijacked Zoey's plane and turned it into another room. Naturally, in the end, the things the therapist said could be a clue are present. As well as a lighthouse behind her when she asks what it will take to get Zoey on the plane. By the time Zoey realizes this, it's far too late.
    • The entrance to the 8-Ball Bar, one of the escape rooms Zoey went through in the previous film and the room in which Amanda seemingly died, can be seen in the City Streets room. Amanda is later shown to have survived with Minos faking her death and has been forced to design the current set of escape rooms.
  • Fragile Flower: Downplayed: Brianna is tough enough to pull herself together and participate in helping with the rooms, but she's more prone to freaking out than the other participants and having breakdowns. She has a small tearful breakdown when she realizes she'll have to play another set of rooms, begins flinching and shaking when Theo loses his temper on the train, freaking out when Ben and Zoey find an alternate escape exit they insist to take and tearfully refusing to listen to them (taking much time to decide which exit to take, which almost kills her), and when she and Rachel are about to die in the City Streets room, she breaks down in total tears and has to be comforted by a totally calm Rachel.
  • Gambit Roulette: Once the players are inside the Game itself, this doesn't occur thanks to Developer's Foresight, but in order to get all of them there to begin with requires routing six players from previous games onto a specific New York City subway car at the same time, on the middle of the day in a crowded station, with nobody on board who isn't supposed to be there, and none of these Properly Paranoid people noticing that anything is amiss until the trap has been set.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: A particularly morbid example: the only reason we don’t see the full extent of Brianna and Rachel’s deaths is that they’re obscured by the fumes emanating from their rapidly-melting corpses.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The acid rain sprinklers in the City Streets room produce an eerie whine as they pressurize to start spraying, sounding almost like "Psycho" Strings. It only adds to the horror of the room, especially just before Brianna and Rachel die.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nathan sacrifices himself to save Rachel from sinking in quicksand in the Beach room. However, it arguably becomes a Senseless Sacrifice when Rachel gets killed by the acid rain in the City Streets room.
  • His Name Is...: Theo was looking at a map which clues the remaining letters when a bolt of electricity shocks him into grabbing an electrified metal bar which fries him to death. The aforementioned bolt also burns the map. Thankfully, a LED display shows already-inputted letters that spell out an almost-complete phrase, allowing Zoey to figure out the remaining letters.
  • I Have Your Wife: It's revealed that Amanda from the first movie is alive and well but created this game because Minos kidnapped her daughter and forced her to make the rooms to get Zoey to join the corporation.
  • It's All My Fault: Dropped by Zoey when it looks like Ben died during the beach escape room. She goes into a brief Heroic BSoD, saying he was her best friend and how he didn't want to return; convinced he would still be alive if she hadn't convinced him to come with her. Rachel comforts her by reminding her that none of them chose to return to the game and that Minos would have found her and Ben and forced them back into it like he did with all of them.
  • It's Personal: Implied with Minos’ behavior toward Zoey, not only for thwarting their escape rooms twice (and basically outsmarting him in their first-round), but also for exposing them to the public and potentially triggering an investigation into their actions. The very end of the film even has them go out of their way to taunt her, as her flight home is revealed to be yet another escape room.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rachel begins the game hostile and sarcastic (understandably so given the situation and natural stress), but she's also quick to offer comfort and aid to the other players, checking Brianna's injury when the train car crashes and when she's burned by the lasers in the Bank room, comforting Zoey when it seems like Ben has died in the Beach Room and she's guilt-ridden by his apparent death, and calming a terrified Brianna when they're both about to be killed by the acid rain in the City Streets Room.
    • Nate also qualifies, starting off as a gruff and sardonic man who refuses to help when the others are trying to find a way out of the train car (before they realize they're in another escape room). However, he also takes the time to close Theo's eyes after his death and wishes him peace, and later sacrifices his life to save Rachel.
  • Karma Houdini: The vagrant who steals Zoey's necklace (which belonged to her late mother) and lures the pair into the escape rooms receives no punishment whatsoever. Minos is also still at large, despite hints that there may finally be an investigation on the organization.
  • Laser Hallway: The second room features a bank that has deadly lasers which will activate if the wrong tiles are stepped on. The puzzle comes with navigating the right path to the quickly closing safe.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Once again, Minos returns in this film.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • After Rachel reveals her condition to Zoey that prevents her from feeling physical pain, she doesn't elaborate on any kind of traps she had to endure like Brianna and Theo (the former revealed she got a facial scar from an exploding room of mirrors while the latter mentioned he suffered a burst eardrum from the rising pressure in a submarine), instead telling her to just imagine "the kinds of puzzles that Minos came up with for the pain freaks."
    • When Zoey reunites with Amanda (who is revealed to have designed the current set of escape rooms), the latter tearfully remarks that Minos broke her, and it shows; Amanda the tough, quick-thinking military veteran from the previous film is now a traumatised, feeble Nervous Wreck that desperately encourages Zoey to just join Minos before they take everything she loves hostage like they did with her daughter Sonya, and has a breakdown when Zoey refuses, crying and pleading for Minos while pounding at the door to just let her go since she did everything they asked of her. It makes one wonder what the hell she went through that turned her into such a hollow shell of her former self.
  • Not Quite Dead: It's revealed that Amanda survived the events of the previous film after she fell and ended up having a soft landing. Minos later forced her to create the games in exchange for her daughter Sonya's life, as she was kidnapped by the organization. Ben is also revealed to be alive after falling into the quicksand in the Beach room.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Minos tries to drown Ben when Zoey refuses to become the next Puzzle Maker, she resorts to setting the room on fire (burning and breaking the glass wall between her and Ben, letting him escape) and consequently burning down everything else. As she watches the fire spread all around her, Zoey shouts, "I'm gonna burn all you fuckers to the ground! Do you hear me? I'm not playing your game! Not now, not ever!"
  • Previously on…: The movie opens with a recap of the events of the first film.
  • Quicksand Sucks: The beach-themed Hourglass Bay escape room, with Minos' machinery doing the work. The sand-sinking grows in intensity, not only swallowing things and people but the entire set!
  • Race Against the Clock: While all of the rooms are inherently this (since after a while, a trap will set killing or trapping those unlucky enough to stay), the second room is a good example of this, since the safe that the players need to enter will close in a set amount of minutes, with periodic announcements in the interim.
  • Secret Path: Zoey stumbles upon an alternate exit during the third room, though ultimately it leads to the next room. Assuming that Minos wanted Zoey to join their ranks, it can be assumed that this was supposed to be an exit only for her to leave the game; Rachel joining her changes this, however.
  • Sequel Escalation: The room traps are far more lethal this time around, as evidenced by the fact that the very first room results in one death.
  • Sequel Hook: By the time Zoey, Ben and Amanda escape and see the light of day again, the authorities are now hot on Minos' trail and Amanda is implied to be planning a way to save her daughter and get her back.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story / Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Zoey and Ben have managed to escape Minos' escape rooms again, but at the very end, they end up in yet another escape room. One, in which, they may not escape from this time.
  • Shock and Awe: The first escape room of this movie’s game is a subway car that gets super-charged with electricity. Escape, or fry.
  • Sole Survivor: While Zoey and Ben are a subverted case, each of the other players was the winner (and only survivor) of their own game with Minos. They also had their own category for why they were chosen:
    • Brianna was in a game with several social media influencers with large followings. (She was a travel blogger with one million followers and making income off of her online presence.)
    • Nate was in a game featuring all priests. (He said they wanted to see if religious faith would make a difference in survival outcomes.)
    • Rachel’s game featured people with congenital insensitivity to pain. (A rare medical condition where one can't feel physical pain.)
    • We don’t hear about Theo’s game (apart from the fact that he suffered a burst eardrum in a submarine-themed room) since he dies in the first room before he reveals this.
  • Spotting the Thread: At the end, as Zoey relaxes on the plane she begins to think about how easy those last few traps were... and how convenient it was that the newscasts at the police station were talking about Minos escape rooms nationwide. Ben tells her she's being paranoid but Zoey spots a woman resembling her shrink who kept asking "what will it take to get you on the plane?" She then sees the woman is holding the same pen, purse, and book (entitled Free Will) as that shrink did. It hits her too late that this is yet another escape room.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Just because Ben and Zoey made it out of their game with no lasting physical injuries doesn't mean the others didn't. Brianna has a noticeable facial scar (obtained in an exploding hall of mirrors), which cost her her social media influencer career, and Theo suffered a burst eardrum in his game (as a result of being in a submarine and a burst of air pressure while escaping), necessitating his use of a hearing aid and a long slash on the side of his face.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Nate suffers heavily from this, describing himself as being "lost" and not understanding why he was spared from death after his game. It's implied through his recklessness in the second room that he has suicidal tendencies as a result of this.
  • Title Drop: After the first escape room is revealed, the group quickly realizes they're all survivors of previous escape rooms by Minos. Rachel bitterly remarks that this game is a "tournament of champions" then.
  • The Unfought: Unlike the previous movie, there is no Gamemaster awaiting the group at the end, except for Amanda who was forced to create the games in exchange for her daughter's safety. She later helps Zoey and Ben escape, but not before she and Zoey start a fire.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Zoey and Ben have become Fire-Forged Friends because of their shared survival in the previous film, but haven't had a Relationship Upgrade. The sequel does hint that they're attracted to each other, especially in the motel scene.
  • We Can Rule Together: Near the end, Minos offers Zoey the chance to join their organization as one of their puzzle makers, with Amanda adding on how Minos wants the one person who beat him to create future escape rooms. A disgusted Zoey refuses (breaking Ben free from his cage when Minos tries to kill him for her refusal) before fleeing with Ben and Amanda.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The cast doesn’t even get to know the name of the first player that dies in the game. Nate also asks if anyone at least knew his name. He’s credited as Theo at the end of the movie. To drive this trope in further, he’s not even on the official poster of the movie!
  • Weird Weather: The fourth room features hydrochloric acid rain that will melt through almost any object, contestants included.
  • Wham Shot: Rachel and Zoey escape from the quicksand beach room to what seems to be a busy city street, only to realize it's another escape room when Brianna appears, the underground tunnel they exited from seals itself and the scenery glitches and short-circuits. As Brianna futilely attempts to open the manhole leading to said tunnel, Rachel notices the acid burns and blisters on Brianna's shirt and back.
    Rachel: Oh, my God...what did they do to you?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While it's assumed that Amanda fled to safety with Zoey and Ben outside, she's not seen at the police station apart from Ben remarking that she's telling all she knows about Minos to the authorities, making her fate slightly ambiguous.
    • It can be speculated that either Amanda went off to try and save her daughter, or was recaptured by Minos again, given that it's implied the police station was in league with or a part of Minos, and the plane that Zoey and Ben get on is revealed to be another escape room.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Brianna gives a brief one to Theo when he tosses metal keys at her in an electrified subway car, which causes said keys to get zapped and fried while barely missing the participants.
    • After the group barely survives the bank room, Ben calls out the unconscious Nathan for nearly getting them killed with his thoughtless actions. Sure, he genuinely believed he was doing good but it still put them all at risk.
    • Zoey briefly has this moment with Amanda upon finding out she's been helping create the rooms. When Amanda tells her to just join Minos to make it easier on herself, Zoey is appalled and firmly declares she'll never help Minos.

    Extended Cut (Warning: Unmarked Spoilers) 
  • Abusive Parents: Henry trapped Claire in a glass prison since she was a child. The key to her freedom is a needlessly complex riddle that Claire cannot solve by herself because it requires someone else to help her from the outside. She was given three tries to do it before the room is gassed by poison. According to Claire, she blew her first try to celebrate her 18th birthday. Of course, it is then revealed that she was imprisoned in retaliation for killing her own mother, and is the designer of the escape rooms who apparently came up with designs so horrible that Henry refused them.
  • Asshole Victim: Henry is killed by Claire in revenge for imprisoning her. Given that he and his corporation sent countless numbers of innocent victims to their deaths by forcing them to play in dangerous escape rooms all for the sake of entertaining their psychopathic clients, as well as forcing Claire to design escape rooms for which he takes all the credit instead of getting her proper treatment or euthanizing her for her psychopathy, it's safe to say no tears will be shed over his death.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Henry and his daughter Claire. Henry is the creator and head of Minos behind the deadly escape rooms all over the world to entertain rich psychopaths, while locking Claire inside an escape room to kill her; but Claire, the Puzzle-Master, designs the games and intends on killing and usurping her father, succeeding in the ending and becoming the new head of Minos.
  • Big Fancy House: Henry and his family live in one. It actually doubles as the HQ of Minos.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Claire. She acts nice to Zoey (even saving Ben as a means of proving she can be trusted) as she needs her help to break out of her glass prison and pulls a compelling Broken Bird act. It's then revealed that she was imprisoned in the first place because Henry believed she was too dangerous to keep unrestrained; she is a psychopath who created such dangerous escape rooms that even Henry refused to allow them, and killed her own mother because she wanted to send her to an asylum when recognizing her Troubling Unchildlike Behavior.
  • Captured Super-Entity: Claire. As it turns out, she is actually much viler than Henry, who recognized this long ago and trapped her in a glass prison to keep her under control.
  • Enfant Terrible: Claire was already showing sadistic tendencies as a child (physically hurting her mother, killing crabs by snapping their body parts off, and openly stealing); something that her mother recognized. Upon learning that she was planning to commit her to a mental hospital, Claire decided to kill her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Minos themselves are disturbed by Claire’s psychopathy, especially her father, Henry.
  • Gas Chamber: Claire's Luxury Prison Suite doubles as another escape room, requiring her to solve a puzzle that can only be completed with outside help. After three failed tries, the room fills with poison gas.
  • Glad I Thought of It: To say that Claire's less than pleased that her father takes all the credit for watered-down versions of her escape room designs (her original designs were so dangerous and sadistic that even Minos and Henry were appalled by them) is an understatement.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the ending, Claire turns the tables on Henry by trapping him in the prison he used to imprison her, before activating the protocols that release deadly gas to kill him.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: The reason why Claire killed her mother Sonya; after deliberately showing Sonya her psychopathic tendencies during their day out together, Sonya responded by planning to send her away to a mental hospital. Claire assumed that meant she didn't love her anymore and killed her in retaliation.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Unlike the theatrical cut, the mugger sent by Minos to bait Zoey and Ben into participating in the Escape Room is arrested by the police, along with the rest of the Minos operatives.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The Extended Cut opens in 2003, showing the origins of Henry, the head of Minos, his strained relationship with his wife, Sonya, and daughter, Claire, and Sonya's death in an Escape Room game that Henry ostensibly devised to foil her plans to divorce him.
  • Revised Ending: The Extended Cut has a completely different third act than the theatrical release, which changes how the story is played. It also adds some new scenes in the beginning to accommodate this.
  • Sauna of Death:
    • In the prologue, Sonya is killed failing to flee from an overheating sauna game that Claire devised.
    • Ben is forced to endure this himself in the climax and nearly dies until Claire disables the engine that powers the Escape Rooms.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Claire murdered her mother by trapping her in a sauna because she was about to send her to a mental hospital. At the ending of the film, she also kills her father as revenge for restricting her freedom for the past several years.
  • Sequel Hook: Unlike the theatrical cut, Zoey and Ben have a much happier ending, having managed to beat Henry without being set up in another Escape Room fiasco and head to the hospital so Ben's wounds can be treated. However, the former might have sowed the seeds for something far more terrible when she freed Claire, who has toppled her father and implicitly become the new head of Minos.
  • Shout-Out: A girl who created mazes trapping people inside? Claire is clearly based on Ariadne, the mythological daughter of King Minos.