Zoey and Ben go to New York to dig up dirt on Minos, but end
up trapped in another escape room with four other past survivors.
Escape Room: Tournament
The first Escape Room blew onto the scene kind of out of nowhere. Quickly drawing Saw comparisons by many, it would still go on to get generally favorable reviews and become a humongous box office success. For good reason, too, as it proved to be an incredibly fun horror film with an interesting enough concept. So, a sequel being announced wasn’t exactly a surprise. But, like many films, it’s delay due to the pandemic very much was. Still, the wait looked like it would be worth it thanks to a trailer which did a great job of promising a sequel which would continue the story right where we left off while also going bigger on the escape rooms themselves. With a subtitle which promised a unique twist, I was pretty excited for this one. Thankfully, the wait was worth it.
The first thing I want to show some love to really quick is the choice to do a “previously on” at the beginning. It’s something some of the slashers of the 80s used to do to keep people caught up and it was nice to see it make a return here. Considering this was delayed longer than they anticipated, and the storyline picks up immediately where we left off, it helps keep both returning and new audiences on the same page. But, the main attraction, the escape rooms. This installment really shows the evil of Minos by making their rooms so much bigger than the first time around. With them utilizing ones where it appears our characters are in an entire city; their reach and presence makes for some creepy fun. This is enforced by the decision to have them capture previous survivors and forcing them to play a second time. Again, doing a great job of making this company even more terrifying. There’s also a nice twist at the end which makes for a rewarding experience for the fans of the original.
This is the type of sequel I enjoy with horror movies. It does a great job of continuing the storyline, going bigger, and making the bad guys even more of a force to be reckoned. Base off the ending, let’s hope the box office is good and we get a third installment. It appears we have an actual new horror franchise on our hands. One which is determined to make escape rooms scary now.
The golden rule of sequels is "If you can't be better, be bigger." Sequels have the difficult task of continuing an established story while also being new and different enough to stand out as its own thing. I don't think Tournament of Champions was better than the first Escape Room, but I do think it pulled out all the stops with its increasingly more creative room designs, while also showing us just how powerful and above the law this Minos group really is. What we end up getting is a film that stands firmly on even ground with the first film, which is far more than I expected.
Zoey (Russell) and Ben (Miller) have never stopped trying to bring down Minos, but Zoey's fear of flying has postponed their trip to New York many times. Why they don't just drive or take a train is beyond me, especially since they end up driving anyway. When they get to the Minos building, they are robbed by a junkie who leads them into the subway system, where they end up trapped in a new game with four others, all of whom have survived previous escape rooms. I like this idea, because it means we don't have to go through the whole "what the hell is going on" shit that always takes up way too much time. Instead, they all get it, and they all understand the stakes. The characters are more likable this time around, but there's always at least one dick. I honestly think the film's biggest problem was its trailer, which revealed way too much about the rooms and some of the twists.
In the Escape Room universe, the Minos group is so ridiculously powerful that they can build an elaborate system of rooms under New York, hijack subway cars with zero repercussions, and even take control of airplanes. It certainly raises the stakes for a third film, which I hope we do get. There's something about these films that just works, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe some films are just fun.