In Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller Escape Room, directed by Insidious: The Last Key’s Adam Robitel, six strangers (Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, and Nik Dodani) who have chosen to be part of an escape room experience find themselves in a room — no windows, only one door — and it’s locked. The madman games master (Yorick van Wageningen) who’s locked them in has set up a series of fiendishly clever and difficult puzzles that, when solved in the correct order, will lead to the key and their salvation. And to add to the difficulty, he’s set a ticking clock, with one hour to complete the puzzles and escape… or face the consequences.
Read on for a glimpse into the mysterious rooms in the new mystery thriller.
Waiting Room – This is where the characters’ journey begins, believing at first that they will be participating in an innocent escape room game. Says Robitel: “It starts out dimly lit; from there it matures so that the ceiling panels turn on, the columns turn on, then the front grill turns on, the windows close, and then the fans open up, so it literally transforms in the eyes of the audience over seven minutes,” he says. “It throws the characters and the audience immediately into a pressure cooker situation.”
Cozy Cabin – After the Waiting Room is engulfed in flames, the group crawls into an air duct and through a fireplace to arrive in this warm and cozy location. “It’s the Games Master’s way of lulling them into a false sense of security,” says Thomas.
Ice Room – Designed to look and feel like a refrigeration box, this room required building a massive set, nearly 10 meters high and made out of refrigeration panels. “From the warm cabin, the group has now stepped out into the North Pole and they’re on ice. It’s treacherous and foggy, you can’t see twelve feet ahead; and then the worst starts to happen: the ice begins to crack,” says production designer Edward Thomas.
Billiard Room – This is a classy 50s era Palm Springs location. The twist? The Games Master has turned the room upside down and placed the group on the ceiling with the tables, chairs, bar, and pool room. One by one, the floor panels drop away to reveal a treacherous lift shaft with a 15-story drop. The only way out for them is to climb their way up, clutching onto different perches.
Tile Room – For this head trip of a room, the goal was “to design a set that could revolve in tight space,” says special effects supervisor Max Poolman. “We adopted an Ames room — a misshapen room where the scale changes as you walk through it — and modified it with electric motors with speed controls underneath the set. It’s weird from the outset; from furniture to walls and floor, the entire decoration of the room is black and white fingerprints. It’s lit mainly from an overhead spinning light bulb, which is offset, and then the floor spins in a counterclockwise direction.”
Hospital Room – This is where it is revealed “how much research the Maze Corporation has done on the characters,” says Robitel. “This room feels more psychological, each character’s section in the ward is designed especially for them; we have Amanda’s (Woll) burnt and scarred uniform, Jason’s (Ellis) strange and abstract painting of his boat, Danny’s (Dodani) carbon monoxide report, and Zoey’s (Russell) Vietnamese items. Each room was adapted for their back stories. They realize that they are all brought here for a reason.”
“I can’t think of another film that had sets that are so vital,” concludes Robitel. “The idea was that each room becomes its own new film.”
In Philippine cinemas February 27, Escape Room is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.#EscapeRoomMovie