What do you get when you combine a moderately successful horror-thriller with a rushed sequel? The intensely underwhelming Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.
While the original 2019 film managed to capitalize on the crazy of escape rooms in modern culture and put a deathly twist on it, this one feels bleak, boring and markedly less high-stakes by comparison.
It finds six people – all of whom had brushes with death in the deadly escape room game prior – who are put in the situation again, in what they themselves dub a ‘Tournament of Champions’.
The problem with this movie is it neither raises the stakes or brings us anything new. It’s a carbon-copy of the original with a less capable cast and a half-baked plot. The fact it took four screenwriters, two story writers, and is already based on characters created in the original film makes this even more insane.
If this is the best director Adam Robitel and his literal team of scribes can come up with, all of their careers are in trouble. Gone are the intrigue, gore and suspense of the original, replaced with by-the-numbers formula and a final twist that rings hollow.
Taylor Russell and Logan Miller reprise their roles, but they definitely weren’t the most interesting characters in the first film. They still aren’t here. The only bright spot is seeing Pose’s Indya Moore, who is a fantastic thespian, but she is wasted here.
While it’s nice to see James Frain — of Reindeer Games and The Count of Monte Cristo — he’s entirely wasted in a throwaway, villainous role with no teeth.
It’s a sequel that’s an absolutely dull affair, and that’s problematic, given how B-movie fun this concept could have been.