In the era of Escape Rooms and social media, it was only a matter of time before the two were combined. No Escape takes two of millennials’ favorite things and adds a twist on it. Set in Russia, the film follows an influencer as he and his friends take on Moscow’s most challenging Escape Room, streaming the whole thing. Each scenario is different but the game soon starts to feel too real and everyone’s lives are put in danger. Starring Keegan Allen, Holland Roden, Ronen Rubinstein, Denzel Whitaker, Siya, Pasha D. Lynchnikoff, Kimberly Quinn, and Emilia Ares and written and directed by Will Wernick, No Escape takes the horror genre to a whole new level. Keep reading to find out why!
Warning: Spoilers for No Escape! Read at your own risk!
The idea of an Escape Room is just that: To escape. Each one has a different theme with different puzzles and a time limit. The Escape Room that adventure vlogger Cole (Allen) and his friends go to is supposedly in a prison, where people got tortured. What starts out as an innocent game turns into something where solving puzzles is literally life or death and the real could be fake and the fake could be real. All of the different rooms, or cells, in this Escape Room have different torture elements. Could be a dead body, a stretching machine, electric chair, glass box that may or may not fill up with water. The gang quickly realize just how real this game is and try everything they can to get out of it. But when the tables suddenly turn on them and the game becomes more real, they’ll have to learn how to get through it so they can survive, but not everyone makes it out alive.
The concept of the movie itself, while not like your typical horror movie, is different and unique. It starts off getting to know the characters and what they’re about, but when the actual Escape Room starts, the tone shifts. It gets darker — you don’t know who to trust or what will happen. The twists and turns that the movie has keeps the story going. It’s unpredictable. With a twisted ending that most people, even horror fanatics, wouldn’t catch, No Escape takes the idea of an Escape Room and gives it an eerie feeling. The torture, the wondering, the survival — it all makes the Escape Room in the movie different. It’s different each time. No one experience is the same. It’s tailored to whoever is doing it. It goes above what an Escape Room is and becomes real, which makes it terrifying.
As the true star of No Escape, Allen, mostly known for his role as the once mysterious Toby Cavanaugh on Pretty Little Liars for seven seasons, takes on a challenge that is more than just trying to escape. Cole’s tone from when he first enters the Escape Room is all calm, cool, and collected. He’s happy, he’s excited to be doing this and sharing it with his fans and viewers. When he sees everyone else’s predicament, he slowly starts to realize how messed up this Escape Room is. He’s terrified for what could happen and what almost happened. He completely breaks at the end of the movie and has no hope. Cole goes from being this excited vlogger at the beginning of the movie who is just doing another insane challenge to a scared and terrified person that breaks down because of what happens during the game. The tone and emotion that Allen shows throughout the movie shows the kind of depth that he has and how far he is willing to go as an actor.
Horror and thriller movies take a special range, a special talent of acting. This cast has that range and talent. Roden is one of the standouts of No Escape. Known for her role as Lydia Martin in MTV’s Teen Wolf for the show’s six season run, Roden, same as Allen, takes on more than one bargained for. As Cole’s girlfriend, Erin feels the need to follow him, even if she feels like she doesn’t necessarily fit in with this life. When the Escape Room begins, she suffers the most, being the first one to really be on the brink of death. Throughout the game she loses all hope she ever had, terrified for her life and she no longer recognizes the one person she cares about.
No Escape redefines the horror movie genre. There’s no monsters, there’s no ghosts, there’s no purge. It’s the kind of horror that messes with your mind. It’s a thriller. You’re wondering what’s going to happen next, and you’re invested in these characters that you just met. This Escape Room is so different and from the start, you are trying to figure out what the whole point of it is. Just when you think it’s over, it’s not. It may not leave you with nightmares and keeping your lights on at night, but it has twists that you weren’t expecting, an ending that you’re left wondering how they pulled it off, wanting to rewatch it to see if you can spot anything. The cast pulls off the different range of emotions, the twists are ones you would never expect. Overall, the movie keeps people on the edge of their seats. No Escape took the horror and thriller genres to a whole new level and it’s something that will most likely stick around for a long time.
No Escape is available on VOD, Digital, and in limited theaters now.