Once you’re locked in your theatre seat, there’s no escaping the non-stop extravaganza that is Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.
Like an actual escape room, this movie puts spectacle before story. Polarizing visuals distract from lapses in common sense. An upscale bank, sinking beach, and toxic cityscape are just a few of the backdrops that dazzle as stars in their own right. As an audience member, you’re only invited to witness these puzzles, but never play. You’re distinctly watching these characters navigate challenges without the information to play alongside them. Although the story arc connecting Tournament of Champions to its predecessor feels shallow, a member of the returning cast absolutely rules the game.
Taylor Russell and Holland Roden make the most of this lackluster story, inflating moments with convincing emotional urgency. Both have Horror titles under their belts, with Russell starring in Freeform’s Dead of Summer and Roden being known for Teen Wolf, Lore, No Escape, and Channel Zero. Non-binary actor Indya Moore (FX’s Pose) makes their first entry into Horror as memorable influencer Brianna.
At the end of this game is an unresolved ending. The most rewarding prizes are the playful challenges and mysterious sets uncovered along the way. Tournament of Champions may not be a feat of cinema, but it is a fun thriller worthy of those willing to play the game.