Dir. Adam Robitel
Reviewer. Ben Anderson
In 2019 Adam Robitel bought us ESCAPE ROOM, an interesting take on a new hobby for many with a twist, not escaping these on time means near certain death. The film was somewhat of a silent smash so it is more than surprising, but welcoming, that we now have a follow up.
Picking up on the closing moments of the first film and being the only survivors, Ben (Logan Miller) and Zoey (Taylor Russell) soon realise that the games aren't over and as they try and discover more about the organization running these games of death, they soon discover they haven't quite escaped their line of enquiry either.
Meeting up with others who have been through the same experiences, a tournament of champions ensures. Imagine a best of SAW where any survivor is put into a final series of traps with only 1 victor. Now take away a lot of the blood and you're almost there. Joining Ben and Zoey are Indya Moore (POSE), Isabelle Fuhrman (ORPHAN) and Thomas Cocquerel (THE 100, ALIVE) and it's perhaps refreshing to see a central cast of mixed ages compared to the current sway of young adult ensembles we're starting to see too often.
Just as with the first film, ESCAPE ROOM is inventive with its "rooms", expanding with a much bigger budget this time round, and never bores, mostly through the excellent cast and well written plot developments. With a 15 rating, it's never going to reach the levels of gore you secretly want to see but there are some interesting death scenes to enjoy. The train sequence shown in the trailers is exhilarating but the best by far feature acid rain. It's a shame as the series will never quite reach it's SAW level potential that it itches to be and as such some horror fans will feel a little empty after the experience. For those who don't mind, there's plenty to get your teeth into and a few shock twists that we're sure to be explored in the inevitable sequel(s). Those expecting a closure to the series on it's second entry will be disappointed however, as with it's predecessor, the ending is open for the next instalment that will inevitably arrive.
While not as good as the first one due to the more open narrative and suspension of disbelief expected from viewers, there is no denying that TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
a welcome bridge between teen drama and horror. Desperate to appease all, but failing hardcore horror fans, there will still be something to enjoy here for everyone as it's non-stop fun and thoroughly enjoyable proving that there's plenty of life left in this franchise yet and we can't wait until we get locked in again. So, until we get the next FINAL DESTINATION, this will fill a nice void.