A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that No Escape (formerly titled Follow Me) is a gory but unsurprising horror/thriller about a livestream internet star who goes to a deadly escape room in Russia and finds himself in over his head. The violence isn't quite at "torture porn" levels, but women are threatened and subjected to torture devices, including electric shock mechanisms and tanks filling with water. Characters are killed, and there's plenty of blood and guts. Viewers will also see guns/shooting and fighting. It's suggested that characters are having sex (a couple lies in bed together, and one leaves another's hotel room), and there's kissing. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "motherf----r," and more. Characters enjoy vodka shots and snort drugs in a nightclub.
What's the story?
In NO ESCAPE, Cole (Keegan Allen) is a successful vlogger who heads to Russia with his team to celebrate the vlog's 10th anniversary. They plan to do a show-stopping broadcast inside the ultimate escape room. While they're out enjoying themselves in a nightclub, Russian gangster Alexei (Ronen Rubinstein) starts harassing Cole's girlfriend, Erin (Holland Roden), leading to a fight. The next day, the escape room proves to be rather intense, as Cole is forced to dig a key out of a corpse, and his friends -- including Samantha (Siya), Dash (George Janko), and Thomas (Denzel Whitaker) -- are locked into torture devices. When the game ends and the timer runs out, the friends still can't seem to escape -- and more horrors await.
Is it any good?
A vague copycat of the successful Saw franchise formula, this horror/thriller lacks interesting puzzles, likable characters, and memorable shocks and has an unsettling level of violence toward women. The generically titled No Escape -- which originally had an equally generic title, Follow Me -- focuses on a group of diverse friends, though they seem forced together by the script, rather than sharing an organic chemistry. There's very little personality in any of them. Cole is self-obsessed and thinks only about "content," but the movie doesn't have any idea how to satirize or comment on him. That's just who he is.
The movie's various puzzles and deaths manage to be uninteresting and not particularly gory or shocking, but at the same time it's a little too interested in inflicting nastiness on the female characters. And the grand finale is sadly all too predictable, because the movie gives away the answer early on in a specifically placed line of dialogue. (It's also pretty dumb.) All of this adds up to a pointedly unmemorable movie, largely springing from the fact that it's next to impossible to care. No Escape will inspire viewers to head for the nearest and most accessible exit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about No Escape's violence. Is it thrilling? Shocking? What's the difference?
What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do people sometimes like to be scared?
What does the movie have to say about social media celebrity? Is it glamorous? What are the downsides?
What values are implied or shown in the movie's sex-related moments?
- On DVD or streaming: October 20, 2020
- Cast: Holland Roden, Denzel Whitaker, Keegan Allen
- Director: Will Wernick
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence, grisly images, pervasive language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use
- Last updated: October 23, 2020
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