A kitschy combination of reality competition and room-escape hijinks
"Escape the Night" is attempting to follow in the footsteps of predecessors like "Murder in Small Town X" and "Whodunnit?" Ostensibly a threadbare plot line is established and then a group of people (in this case YouTube stars) are thrown together to solve a series of puzzles and challenges, with one (or more) of them being eliminated (murdered) each episode until the finalists remain.
Each of the existing three seasons takes place in a different era (the 1920's, 1800s and 1970's) with each YouTube star being assigned a "character" such as "The Disco Dancer" or "The Saloon Girl". However they aren't really playing characters so much as dressing up the way you would when attending a murder mystery party at your friend's house. They pay minimal lip service to these roles and for the most part simply behave as themselves.
Things get a little confusing because none of the participants in this show have any actual stakes. They are not competing for prizes or money, so there's a lot less riding on whether or not they "survive" each episode. It's also fairly arbitrary as to who is going to die and when. The narrative is set up to eliminate someone with each episode, yet this is usually determined by group vote, and because no one is particularly vital or special to the progression of the pre-determined plot, how you react to these "deaths" depends mostly on how much you like the personality of the YouTuber who dies.
The show has lavish and fairly spectacular set pieces, costumes and special effects, but they don't make up for the somewhat lackluster elements. The end result is a mishmash that is often not very coherent and feels like the producers are making it up as they go along, but it's pleasant enough a distraction.
The sexual elements are usually minimal. There is no nudity, though women characters are often shown in very skimpy outfits, lingerie or at times prosthetic pieces that only cover their nipples (such as the mermaids in season one.) There are several scenes depicting orgies that amount to little more than coupled pairs engaged in heavy petting.
The violence is actually fairly extreme in the sense that many, many characters are killed. There are shootings, stabbings, slit throats, poisonings and more creative deaths. Often the camera cuts away at the point of actual violence, but the bloody aftermath is always shown.
Profanity usually stops short of the "f word".
A good element of the show is the diversity of that cast, both actors and YouTubers. Though most are under the age of 30, they incorporate men, women, LGBTQIA individuals, people of many different races and transgender people without much comment. They are simply there as a matter of fact, which is the way it should be.
Whether or not the behavior of their 'characters' makes for good role models is subjective. They are often put in positions of having to choose among them who must die, and as such they face a moral quandary, but often this is reduced to little more than whom they found the most annoying in the day's events.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness