WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

“Escape rooms are like living video games,” a game-geek guy named Danny says excitedly while chatting with fellow contestants in the Minos waiting room. He ought to know, he tells them, since he’s participated in 93 such adventures before.

The Minos Escape Rooms, though, are something special. Danny has read online that few have ever beaten the Minos Rooms. And he gushes about the street cred his group will grab if they get out.

The other five participants waiting with him, however, aren’t really all that excited about potential online accolades. They have their own reasons for showing up.

Cutthroat businessman Jason is purely interested in besting another challenge that he hasn’t yet conquered. Quiet-but-super-smart Zoey just wants to step outside her comfort zone. Blue-collar trucker Mike is interested in the winner’s cash prize. Meanwhile, stoner Ben and former vet Amanda have their own private motivations, which they both hold close to the vest.

One thing’s for sure, though: They all want to get started. In fact, Ben feels so antsy about all the waiting around, as well as the other players’ incessant jibber-jabber, that he decides to slip out for a pregame cigarette.

The only reason he hasn’t lit up already is because there's supposed to be some Game Master guy showing up soon. It’s this dude’s job to lay out the rules for the clue-finding and room-escaping activity that the six participants are about to embark upon. But if he doesn't care about being late, Ben's gonna have one last smoke.

But when disheveled Ben reaches for his cigs and then the waiting room doorknob, the latter snaps off in his hand. And nestled in the hole left behind is something that looks like the dial on … an oven. “What the … ?” Ben growls.

Danny, however, just about leaps for joy. This must be it!, he exclaims. They’re already in the escape room. It’s the waiting room itself! And just like that, the six disparate strangers begin looking for clues. Zoey, for instance, soon spies the cover of an old Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451. Surely that’s important, right?

Maybe so.

With a twist of the oven dial on the room’s door, the ceiling starts to glow hot with what look like oven coils. After another attempted application of a clue, the walls begin to glow red as well. It’s as if the room itself is turning into a giant oven. And the six people in it are the baking pastries of choice.

“Never seen anything like this,” gamer Danny admits. “Really immersive.”

But others in the room are beginning to suspect that this increasingly grim game … isn’t really a game at all.

Positive Elements

The six contestants make sacrificial choices for one another. Soft-spoken Zoey, for instance, notices former soldier Amanda’s frayed emotional state at one point and recognizes it as being symptomatic of PTSD. She comforts the young woman and nudges her to safety. And even though some of the players are more self-focused, eventually they all risk their own lives to help the others in their group.

In fact, the contestants' interactions with each other not only help others, but in some cases we see how those choices directly benefit the helpers themselves. Ben, for instance, becomes a stronger person who steps away from several vices in his life.

Spiritual Content

None.

Sexual Content

We hear several winking allusions to masturbation. In another instance, after Danny asks Jason about his ability at playing video games, Jason snarkily retorts that he fills his empty time “having sex with adult women.” Zoey’s roommate wonders if Zoey is having an affair with her college professor. Zoey assures her that she’s not.

Violent Content

It turns out that the six central characters have each had some sort of traumatic experience in their past. So along with deadly events that take place in the present escape room situations, we also witness traumatic, violent events from their past.

We see someone being strangled in a violent fight with a friend. Another person falls through ice into frigid water, and we watch him struggle for air beneath the ice before drowning. Someone else flails about under the mind-altering effects of hypothermia. After a plane crash, dead bodies hang upside down in the burning cabin. Amanda is a victim of an IED attack; she tumbles out of a vehicle bloodied and burned, and we see the resulting healed scars years later. After a mine cave in, one individual is trapped under heavy debris and must listen as a loved one suffocates nearby.

People struggle and gasp from the effects of poison gas. Several people barely escape being burned alive from a roaring blast of fire. A man writhes around and eventually has his heart stopped by a defibrillator shock. Someone falls 20 stories to her death. And someone else is apparently crushed in a room with moving walls. Another man dies after striking his head on the edge of a table, leaving his forehead fatally gashed.

Someone is strangled with a wire around his throat. And in the bloodiest scene, one character gets hit in the face with a bottle and then shot at close range several times (just off-camera). We see the bloody results.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and some 25 s-words join a half dozen uses each of “a--” and “h---.” God’s and Jesus’ names are abused about 20 times total, with a dozen or so of those combining "god" with "d--n."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Ben smokes repeatedly. We see another man light up, too. Ben also carries a small flask around with him; in a flashback scene, he and some friends pass around a bottle of booze while driving. They end up in a drunken car wreck (which, we’re told, killed everyone but Ben).

A trap door in one escape room is covered in some sort of drug that seeps into the pores of two men and sends them on a mind-blitzing—and potentially deadly—psychedelic trip. (The affected pair struggles over a single life-saving antidote for the drug.)

Other Negative Elements

We eventually learn the disturbing secret that motivates the mysterious operator of the escape room.

Conclusion

Some film critics have referenced survival horror pics such as the Saw movies and the Final Destination series when talking about Escape Room. And without a doubt, viewers will sense the cinematic zeitgeist of both of those film franchises in this movie’s mix. I mean, what was Saw if not a graphic flick about a series of intense escape rooms … back before such things even existed?

The difference with Escape Room is that the grisly horror and "torture porn" aspects of those other franchises have been mostly snipped out of this PG-13 pic. We don’t just sit there, wincingly fearful of how the next victim will be butchered or pureed, as much as we wonder what clue might be right in front of these characters as situations crumble and the clock ticks down.

In fact, by cutting back on the blood, and by leaving the truly nasty bits out altogether, director Adam Robitel has created more of an adrenalized thriller than a pure horror flick. The film's plot is also equally driven by likeable characters who are paired with some dominating characters of another sort: the impressively designed, puzzle-filled escape room sets themselves. Those rooms, one and all, keep the action flowing and the tension palpable.

All of that said, however, Escape Room still doesn't deserve a hearty thumbs-up. Yes, there are positives in the form of brave, personal sacrifices and puzzle-solving derring-do. But audiences will have plenty of negatives to navigate, too. The film's obscenity-laden dialogue is something you definitely can’t puzzle your way out of. And the foul, death-dealing evil behind everything that happens here has no thought-provoking lessons to teach, no morality-tale takeaway. It’s simply evil for the gleeful sake of being evil.

Those off-putting elements drain this thriller of its virtues by the time the final clues are gathered and the last lock is sprung. And they’ll leave many potential Escape Room viewers with solid reasons to avoid this particular date night … escape.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Author

Cast

Taylor Russell as Zoey; Deborah Ann Woll as Amanda; Tyler Labine as Mike; Logan Miller as Ben; Nik Dodani as Danny; Adam Robitel as Gabe

Director

Adam Robitel ( )

Distributor

Columbia Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

January 4, 2019

On Video

April 23, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!