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Review of Escape Room 2: No Way Out: Puzzles until the doctor arrives

In the course of the hype about Escape Rooms, which are probably only temporarily stopped by Corona, and which are increasingly establishing themselves as an integral part of the leisure activities of large cities, the puzzle rooms, peppered with all kinds of puzzles, celebrated astonishing success on the big screen: The studio production “Escape Room” played In 2019, with a budget of only nine million dollars, an outstanding 155 million dollars at the global box office – and the indie horror “Follow Me” turned out to be one of the few real box office hits last fall than almost all other films in Germany because of the Pandemic restrictions fell far short of expectations.

Now follows with “Escape Room 2: No Way Out“The sequel to” Escape Room “, which was already teased at the end of the first part – and even more important than the return of director Adam Robitel is that the production designer Ed Thomas is back on board: he is raging – with a significantly increased budget – Once again, it looks really good when it comes to designing the most imaginative and visually impressive puzzle constructions possible. Because in the second part the “Knobelareal” is no longer limited to an old gray prefabricated building, instead the whole mega-metropolis of New York suddenly seems to be transformed into one huge escape room for the involuntary candidates.

At the beginning of “Escape Room 2” “only” one subway car turns out to be a riddle …

Zoey (Taylor Russel) and Ben (Logan Miller), the survivors of the first part, still have to nibble at the traumatic experiences. Since no evidence could be obtained, nobody believes that four people were actually killed in an escape room game at the time. Determined to be the backers of the secret organization Minos The duo travels to New York to uncover the bloody goings-on in an old warehouse. But then the subway turns out to be a new, highly dangerous escape room.

Along with Zoey and Ben, Rachel (Holland Roden), Brianna (Indya Moore), Theo (Carlito Olivero) and Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel) are also trapped in the wagon, which, when subjected to high voltage, mutates into a huge Tesla transformer. Even the slightest touch of the metal can be fatal. The group quickly realizes that it was probably not by chance that they ended up here: All of them have already had one of the escape room courses from Minos survived – and are now forced against their will to a second round of puzzles to the life and death …

Just a means to an end anyway

“Escape Room 2: No Way Out” ties in directly with the events from part one – and kindly also provides a crisp summary of the most creative death scenes from the previous one. This time, however, Zoey is no longer the gray mouse – just like Ben, he obviously emerged from the cruel experience with a noticeable boost in self-confidence. Two strong protagonists, who are joined by a group of new comrades-in-arms, but who have much less time to introduce their characters in the sequel than in the original – and so you really only learn the bare essentials from the quartet.

Rachel has a rare disease that Minos cynically exploits to torment her with particularly nasty surprises, while travel blogger Brianna of course finds herself at some point in a room that is specifically tailored to her work as an influencer. Priest Nathan, however, as a former winner, is struggling with his survival guilt syndrome and even less can be said about Theo, because he is gone so quickly anyway that you don’t even have to introduce him properly. There is no time for sentimental feelings – at least the new characters are obviously only a means to an end and somehow that’s okay, after all, it’s not the victims, but the escape rooms that are the real star.

… but later suddenly half of New York seems to be one huge escape room.

In just under 90 minutes, the champions’ competition goes one after the other – and the breathless pace leaves little time to breathe, let alone to actually follow the chain of puzzles. The following applies here: Everything that the figures discover and combine must first be accepted – it’s not about puzzling along, but above all about admiring the trap constructions, which have already been designed in a purely visually creative and varied manner. Nevertheless, it is worth paying close attention – because “Escape Room 2” is not stingy with hints that suggest that behind Minos there is much more to it than it previously appeared.

Even if you hardly have a chance to understand every logical step, the sheer speed is one of the movie’s strengths overall and the main reason why “Escape Room 2” is so much fun right from the start. Director Adam Robitel literally whips us through his much more ambitious sets this time – from the high-voltage subway car to a neon-lit rainy New York street corner and a laser-studded bench to by far the most impressive room, a beach panorama with quicksand. The attention to detail and the mostly practical effects top everything you saw in the first part.

The (too) grand finale

The resolution expands the myth Minos once again clear – and it will be exciting to see whether the makers have not taken over, or whether they can still continue the gigantic conspiracy hinted at in the background in a possible “Escape Room 3”. Whereby the real challenge of a potential third part is of course to overshadow the spatial structures of “Escape Room 2” – and that will be anything but easy.

Conclusion: The Escape Rooms are even more unusual, creative and deadly this time! A solid sequel that should satisfy fans – even if it ends up leaving more questions unanswered than answered. So keep your fingers crossed that the previously disappointing US result of “Escape Room 2” is enough to justify an “Escape Room 3”.



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