Why would two film companies make the same escape room movies in the same year?
Why Are There 2 Films With the Same Name?
Sometimes when a craze is hot (escape rooms), production companies invest in similar scripts around the same time and then have a race to see who can get it done first. I wonder if that’s what happened here? In most cases, if the idea is similar, they go under different titles like The Disaster Artist and Best F(r)iends which are both about Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero and were both released 2017.
In any case, escape rooms were on trend for a moment and so, these ideas became movies at the same time. I like escape room movies, so I watched them both.
I could only find 3 examples of films that give the same year with the same title;
- Emma was one in which both were adaptations of Jane Austen’s novel, Emma.
- Night Club 1989, Emma in 1996 and,
- Chaos 2005 were the three examples.
To put these two escape rooms against each other, how will we tell them apart?
Here’s How to Tell Them Apart
I will call one Escape Room (Bag Head) as it features a possessed man in the room who wears a hessian bag on his head. The other I will call Escape Room (original) simply because it technically completed and released first.
Escape Room (Original)
It’s Tyler’s 30th and his girlfriend gets invited to an escape room event. Once inside, and separated Christen vanishes and Tyler and his friends begin the game. They see Christen on a television screen and decide its all part of the event. Escape Room starts to take a gory turn for the worst. Will they escape alive?
Filming: November 2015 and completed in September 2016. Released in the USA in June 2017 at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Written by: Noah Dorsey.
Directed: Will Wernick who also co-wrote the story.
How Was This Version of Escape Room?
This one has more back-story which I like. It begins with some friends hanging out at a restaurant drinking champagne and having a good time. I think there is a moralistic message interlaced here. Too subtle for its own good though. A lot of time spent getting to know the characters without getting to know them. There’s a difference between being ambiguous to create a ‘whodunnit’ vibe but another to not tell afterward. While this plays out, nothing much happens apart from watching the group work out puzzles. It goes on until about halfway through.
The kill scenes are short-lived. By the time the final scenes get out, none of the players had particularly grown on me. I didn’t much care who lived or died. Review sites tout really low opinions on this film. Of the two, this is the one I thought had more potential but it still wasn’t good. Between the two my ratings only change by half a star and neither pass.
Where usually I am grateful that a movie progresses past the questionable end, I discovered the film was trying to portray a sinister conclusion with an ominous message. But the question remains;
“Did you escape or did they?”
I give Escape Room (Original)
2 bear traps out of 5.
Escape Room 2017. Both Films Have the Same Title
What is Escape Room 2017 About?
Escape Room (Bag Head)
Sean Young plays Ramona, a woman who runs an antique shop visited by Brice (Skeet Ulrich). He sees the box (which houses a demon) and decides to steal it when Ramona won’t sell it to him. He uses it as a decoration in his escape room business.
When four friends enter to play the Escape Room game they discover everything is not as fun as they thought it would be. They have less than an hour to solve the puzzles needed to escape the room alive.
Filming: December 2016 and completed August 2017 with a release on September 2017.
Written and directed by Peter Dukes
How Was Escape Room 2017?
Skeet Ulrich (Scream 1996) is in it. I like him. I was happy to see him.
This is the one that I watched and I’m ashamed to say I liked it. The setting has been done to death: A demon in a box, don’t let it out, trapped in a room, kill or be killed, solve the puzzle. I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired get of people trying to perfect this formula. Even when it’s bad it’s good.
Escape Room lags in the middle and I became distracted. There is only so much you can do in a singular room where the killer is. There is also a fair bit of stupidity for people who are playing a game of wits and get mowed down in uninspiring ways.
The opening sequence surprised me with a reference to Gremlins which I loved. However, I still don’t understand why Ramona, keeper of the demonic box kept it in plain sight in her shop. Unlocked.
Some films do get it right. Wish Upon (2017) is something similar that failed to hit the mark but The Possession (2012) is getting more towards the money. This movie committed some definite crimes but the final scene pushes towards delving further into the demon behind the box idea used here.
The ending is solid and enticing even if Angie, who works with Brice, had overacting eyes, I still loved the end scene dialogue. This one is really quite trashy, yet enjoyable in a predictable trope-filled way.
I give Escape Room (Bag Head)
2.5 unlocked demonic boxes out of 5.
Will There Be A Part 2 of Escape Room 2019?
For all the information about the 2019 release from 4th January 2019 and it’s a sequel, check out this article and wait for the review.
If you love slasher movies, you might just adore this gues post. Reviews for all four Psycho Movies from Laura Smith.