Escape Room was a clever way to turn a new trend into a horror movie. If there’s a game where you have to solve clues to win, what if there was one that actually killed you if you didn’t win? It’s also a highly repeatable scenario, and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions proves this is a franchise.
‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’ is round 2 of an addictive franchise
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions opens with a recap of the first movie to catch new viewers up or remind fans of the important details. Zoey (Taylor Russell) is in therapy. Though the end of the first movie promised she was going to investigate the Minos warehouse in New York, we learn that she’s bailed on flights to New York due to her fear of flying.
So she finally convinces Ben (Logan Miller) to drive with her to New York to get closure. Minos, of course, traps them in another escape room. They chase a thief onto the subway which pulls them into the new game. You could imagine Minos could lured the other players — Brianna (Indya Moore), Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel), Rachel (Holland Roden) and Theo (Carlito Olivero) — with a similar trick. They’ve each survived a previous Minos game but instead of the Dream Team, they’d be the Scream Team.
The new escape rooms are just as exciting
From the moment the subway car turns into a trap, Tournament of Champions is thrilling. The electric subway puzzle really escalates. The next one is a bank vault with lasers and a 10 minute countdown that goes a bit faster than 10 minutes in movie time.
Considering all the puzzle solving in these movies, the dialogue really explains all the characters’ thought processes. Each room sets the rules so that when one player goes rogue, it’s intense. They could get all the others killed with their recklessness. Most of survivors only escape each room by a hair.
They figure out ways to save each other, too. It’s not all about picking off players in each room, although rest assured, there are casualties.
What makes this franchise unique
The Saw franchise pioneered the genre of horrific traps. Escape Room isn’t quite a PG-13 Saw. The game isn’t about torture. The clues are more elaborate, and they are solvable. The traps in the Escape Room movies aren’t designed just to force one to mutilate oneself. It’s not exactly one death per game in Escape Room either, and the games aren’t all played in a grimy industrial warehouse.
Saw is great, too. That franchise makes a powerful point about morality with its device, and has sustained a mystery over nine movies. There’s room for both franchises. Tournament of Champions sets up Escape Room 3, but even if it didn’t, the franchise would demand Escape Room: Tokyo Drift.