Escape Room

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Escape Room Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Constant peril, limited bloodshed in trap scare-fest.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 38 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the scare-inducing premise, calm, clear thinking is championed. And teamwork is a necessity to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character is a smart, young, black female student who's recovering from trauma. Another main character is a young man living with guilt of a fatal drunk-driving incident, trying to put his life back together. A supporting character is a brave, selfless female veteran.


Though setup and several story elements are similar to Saw franchise, Escape Room is significantly less graphic, with notably less blood/gore. Still, elaborate traps lead to fatalities (drowning/freezing, falling, electrocution, etc.). There's a shooting, a fight that leads to a mortal wound, other murder attempts. But despite essential cruelty of the "game," the deaths aren't drawn out as they are in the Saw movies. Main element here is peril rather than explicit violence. Teen drinking leads to fatal car accident.


In the process of insulting someone, a character talks about having sex. A couple of innuendoes.


Occasional profanity includes one use of "f--k," plus "a--hole," "s--t," "d--k," "son of a bitch," "ass," "hell," "goddamn," "knob."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen drinking leads to a fatal car accident. A character smokes (it's criticized).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Escape Room is a thriller in the vein of Saw -- i.e., strangers find themselves stuck in a locked space where they must solve puzzles to avoid deathly peril -- but with toned-down violence and language. That said, while little blood or gore is shown, there's constant peril leading to death via drowning/freezing, falling, electrocution, etc., as well as fighting, attempted murder, and a fatal shooting. You can also expect occasional swearing ("ass," "s--t," etc.) and some smoking and teen drinking (the latter leads to a fatal car accident). The cast includes Taylor Russell (Lost in Space), Logan Miller, and Deborah Ann Woll.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybeaned June 15, 2020

not appropriate

My child had nightmares for a month started sleeping with us and he is 15, not happy
Adult Written byNeon 99 January 4, 2019

An entertaining enough simplistic thriller

Escape room works on the basic level that for the most part it keeps you entertained. However the pg-13 rating in a way keeps the film from being truly great as... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byReviewsbyateen October 17, 2020

This is my fav movie ever!

I went to go see this movie when I was 12 in the cinemas and I was scared because it was a horror but when we finished it I have to say this is more of a psycho... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byShowman movie13 November 25, 2020

Tense perilous moments

This movie was not very violent but it did have lots of tense perilous moments. People are in constant peril throughout the film. Violence wise, well, it is not... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ESCAPE ROOM, six strangers are summoned to solve puzzles in locked spaces. And the dangers in the elaborately constructed chambers -- including the inside of a giant oven and an upside-down pool hall -- turn out to be real. The players, including brilliant but traumatized student Zoey (Taylor Russell), guilty young Ben (Logan Miller) who's trying to rebuild his life, and tough Iraq vet Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), must work together to survive.

Is it any good?

This horror film/thriller has its virtues, but it badly strains viewers' suspension of disbelief and can't avoid feeling like Saw with duller teeth. The most fun parts of Escape Room are the occasional solvable puzzle and the detail and imagination in the sets. Production designer Edward Thomas (Doctor Who) is the MVP. And some of the performances, including Russell's sympathetic lead work, are good. But the movie is inconsistent in just about every other way. Some of the characters are drawn in detail, while others are thumbnail sketches leaning toward cliché. Some traps allow viewers to think along; others require information we're not given. And some are so implausible that they're likely to shake viewers out of the film. Its 10 Little Indians structure (picking off characters one at a time) and standard moral compass prevent the story from delivering significant surprises.

Plus, with its ultra-elaborate traps and unlikely amount of insider knowledge about the players, the movie can't "escape" comparisons to the much more violent, much crueler torture-porn franchise Saw. Escape Room is tailored for a younger audience, and it's certainly not as ugly as the gorier franchise -- and, thankfully, it has less of that series' bitter, faux moralistic overtones. There's some fun to be had, a few laughs, and a reasonable amount of tension throughout, with only a few jumping-out-of-the-cupboard startle scares. But predictable story beats and the movie's extreme reliance on suspension of disbelief keep Escape Room from rising too high above the genre.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence and peril in Escape Room. If you've seen horror movies like Saw, does the level of violence here feel similar to you? Why or why not? How does the impact compare?

  • Did the traps seem realistic/possible? Did the trapmakers' knowledge of the players seem believable? Do you require some baseline level of realism for a movie like this, or are you able to suspend your disbelief enough to go with it?

  • How are the women in the film portrayed? Are they weak or strong, stupid or smart, empathetic or unfeeling? Is that typical for this genre?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary movies

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