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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Thinking Outside the Box

Escape Room (2019) on IMDb
The ascent of man

Plot Overview

We open on a young man Ben (Logan Miller) in desperate straits (“Shit!”) trying to puzzle his way out of a room (“There's no way out”) as the walls are closing in on him. The camera pans out to a cityscape—perhaps Chicago—and an inter­title that says, “Three Days Earlier.”

A college professor (Cornelius Geaney Jr.) is trying to explain an arcane principle of quantum mechanics to his eager class. The quantum zeno effect, he says, is an instance of, “A watched pot never boils.” A bright Vietnamese co-ed Zoey (Taylor Russell) under­stands it, but she is too reticent to pipe up in class. The professor tells her to, “Try doing one thing that scares you over break.” Her room­mate Allison (Jessica Sutton) encourages her similarly. She receives an invitation to participate in an escape room with a financial incentive.

Jason (Jay Ellis), a black swell, finesses another financial transaction on the phone. He contemplates Miyagi “The Karate Kid” sansei who was able to capture a fly with chop­sticks. He receives an identical invite.

Shop boy Ben is passed over for promotion from the back room because, “Putting you out front would be really bad for business.” His boss Gary suggests he, “Go out and make a friend.” He receives the same invitation as the other two. They are joined in the waiting room of Minos Escape Rooms by Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll) a military vet, Mike (Tyler Labine) a truck driver, and Danny (Nik Dodani) a teenage wonk. How “dark horse” Ben comes to lead the pack and whether he'll make a friend is the subject of the movie.


The clues in the escape room—actually a series of interconnecting rooms—turn out, some of them, to be related to past tragedies in the lives of the players who'd narrowly survived them. The world is a dangerous place. According to a wise man, the son of Sirach, (Sir. 9:13) “Keep thee far from the man that hath power to kill; so shalt thou not doubt the fear of death: and if thou come unto him, make no fault, lest he take away thy life presently: remember that thou goest in the midst of snares, and that thou walkest upon the battle­ments of the city.” It's a long way down, and there are all kinds of hidden dangers in this game. It might be best to just avoid games where some twisted dudes have “a box seat for life's ultimate drama.”

It is true that one can't just hide inside and avoid all risk if he is to be a well-rounded individual with friends, just don't take needless risks. (Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” If some of these guys manage to escape, they are better off to let the police investigate the room and take care of the matter rather than embark on a crusade against the well financed baddies.

(Eccl. 7:17) “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” The games­master makes the game difficult, but he should allow some possibility for escape rather than rig it so there's no way out. And if he forgets that a survivor has a friend loose some­where, that could endanger him, too. Author Sebastian Rotella writes, “‘Rest assured. But you are young, you have a bright future … Nadie muere en la víspera. Nobody dies before his time.’ ¶“He said the words auto­matic­ally. It was actually a state­ment that Carlos Menem, a roguish Argentine president, had made after surviving a helicopter crash in the 1990s” (227.) The games­master is in the cat­bird seat not exposed to danger him­self, not unless he is foolish and overly wicked.

“Escape Room” is a reflection of archetypes that derive from human origins. (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” Shem received Noah's blessing and became the progenitor of the Semites of whom Jesus of Nazareth was born. Ben in the movie being the leader of the pack and having a vaguely Jewish name would represent the Christ child. Ben's former tragedy in the movie actually occurred at Christmas time.

I've sorted out the formulas more in my review of “The Grinch.” Here I'll just mention that the name of Noah's son Japheth means “enlarge” and his descendants, per to Noah's promise, were enlarged to spread all over the globe. In the movie it was Zoey who thought out­side the box and who struck out on her own, not willing to play the game within its own constraints. She would represent Japheth who “dwelt in the tents of Shem” (Gen. 9:27) attaching her­self to Ben (“You came back for me.”)

Jason would represent Cush whose name meant “black” and who settled in Africa. (Gen. 10:6) “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” Ham had a spot of trouble over Noah's garment, and it was Jason's earlier tragedy to be stranded on an over­turned boat in the Pacific along with his (white) room­mate and only one coat between them. As Jason tells it his room­mate fought him over the coat then the guy swam away in the ocean chasing some mirage, leaving Jason the sole survivor. His fellows in the escape room think it very “convenient” it happened that way (“You killed him.”) Noah imposed servitude on Ham's progeny. In the movie Jason becomes the slave to the others, his body connected to an EKG machine that would read his heart rate to match the numbers that would unlock the next step for the group. Only Jason had the right body readings to be the slave, which had to be done to benefit the group, though he had a sharp mind as far as that goes.

I know the cops and lawyers and politicians get their knickers all in a twist over racial profiling according to stereo­type, but I'm not writing about any of that. This is racial profiling over archetype, which is an artistic consideration. It imposes itself on our psyches, some­times being manifest in movies. At least I've seen it in ones I've reviewed.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Adam Robitel. The screen­play was written by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik. It stars Logan Miller, Taylor Russell, and Jay Ellis. Zoey is a stereo­typical Asian college student, polite, smart, and motivated. Ben is a loser drunkard. Amanda was wounded in Iraq. Mike is a no-nonsense truck driver. Jason is a self-centered business­man. Danny is obsessed with the game. Their parts were more or less well played, some better than others. Taylor Russell's character Zoey blossoms in situ.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for terror/perilous action, violence, some suggestive material and language. Fright is the name of the game and this one has plenty. There is one psychedelic room that may be visually disturbing to the susceptible. Only one (black) guy left during the middle of it at my viewing.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one is about what one would expect, sort of an invitation to go out and take risks but not too many. There's no romantic subtext, but there is a lot of death. I felt I got my money's worth.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version (KJV.) Pub. 1611. Rev. 1769. Software.

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.

Rotella, Sebastian. Rip Crew. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Print.