This is a Clue

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Review

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions poster

I’m not sure how this happened, but it is already October 9. This means that not only is time going much quicker than I already suspected, but also that we are well into spooky season. Since I’ve been doing quite a bit of horror watching anyway, I figured it only appropriate to check in and share my thoughts on at least one new film. The movie in question today is Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.

The Plot

Six people unwillingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive. Joining forces with two of the original survivors, they soon discover they’ve all played the game before.

My Thoughts

I quite enjoyed 2019’s Escape Room, so when a sequel was announced, I was all for it. Before I jump into my full blown thoughts on this one, I am going to assume that you’ve already seen the first. I tend to steer clear of spoilers as much as possible, but some cannot be spared here. You’ve been warned…

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions starts off right where its predecessor left off; Our returning survivors, Zoey and Ben — played once again by Taylor Russell (Before I Fall) and Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) — have made the trek to New York to dig deeper into those responsible for the torture they were subjected to months earlier. On their way, however, they realize that those same individuals were always one step ahead of them, leaving them once again fighting for their lives.

My favorite sequels are always the ones that take events from films prior and expand upon them. The return of Russell and Miller was a big deal for myself and other fans of the first movie I’m sure. These familiar faces were not the only ones involved this time around, however. Apparently Zoey and Ben weren’t the only lucky ones to ever survive Minos’ modern-day Roman coliseum. All of these characters, familiar and otherwise, are former champions, and they must now work together to survive one more time.

Like those we were introduced to two years ago, the characters in Escape Room: Tournament of Champions are all unique, each with their very own “origin stories.” As the film rolls on, we slowly learn about each of their backgrounds and just how they may have made it out alive the first time.

Each actor does a fine job with their respective roles and I really couldn’t pinpoint a weak link among them. The acting is top notch and you will start to feel compassion for each character, no matter how long they last.

Similar to the subsequent sequels in franchises like Saw or Final Destination, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions has dialed things up. The escape rooms themselves feel much larger, more spacious than actual “rooms,” making each scene that much more harrowing. While the film’s budget seems larger and the scope of the puzzles more grand, there is still a great sense of claustrophobia created within each portion of the escape. Both Escape Room and now Escape Room: Tournament of Champions do a fantastic job of making the viewer feel as though they are part of the story. There were actually multiple occasions throughout the film’s 88 minutes where I found myself looking for my own clues to help these people escape.

I mentioned sequels that expand on what was already established in movies past. That is exactly what [returning] director Adam Robitel and the team of writers have done with Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. The film begins with a short recap of the events of 2019’s Escape Room; Zoey and Ben, along with other returning champions, continue down their unfortunate paths, all while the history of Minos and its myriad escape rooms is slowly revealed. This not only helps to shed light on some of the stuff we saw in the first film, but sets up for future entries beautifully.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions at Home

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is available now on Digital, DVD, and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. This new Blu-ray home release presents the film in 1080p High Definition 2.39:1 with English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French, Spanish, and English Audio Description 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. There is also an optional English subtitle track.

In addition to the theatrical cut of the film, included here is an extended cut with nearly 25 minutes of new footage, containing an alternate beginning and ending to the film. This cut actually feels like a completely different film, so I suggest giving both versions a watch.

There are also other behind-the-scenes featurettes that dive into the making of the film with cast and crew alike.

The Verdict

If you were a fan of Escape Room, then you will enjoy its sequel just as much. With tons of suspense and tension throughout, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a fantastic next entry in what can easily become a long-running franchise.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is rated PG-13, so unlike those other franchises that I’ve mentioned, there isn’t tons of gore or carnage. There is a high enough body count, but without any of the red stuff that most horror fans can’t do without. If you need that kind of thing in order to enjoy a film, you can stay away from these flicks. If you are okay with more tense films that are psychologically terrifying, however, Adam Robitel’s two films should be right up your alley.

Give this one a watch for yourself, as I give it a final rating of 4 Hell-trap nightmares out of 5.

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