A while back, we wrote about some fun puzzle movies that escape room fans would like. Now we want to venture into the darker side with scary movies.
Not all of us make it to the end of an escape room. From bad communication to misunderstandings, plenty of things can slow us down and hinder us from reaching that oh-so-glorious end, but don’t feel too bad. Everyone struggles. Here are some examples of people who didn’t quite make the cut.
This article contains spoilers
Would You Rather (2012)
Would You Rather focuses on the main character, Iris, who is down on her luck. She has no job and needs to pay for her brother’s chemotherapy. Her brother’s doctor introduces her to Shepard Lambrick, a wealthy philanthropist, who invites her to a dinner party game. If she wins the game, she’ll get some extra cash and a bone marrow donor for her brother.
Iris is taken to the Lambrick estate, where she meets the other guests that were brought here for the dinner party. The other guests are Lucas, Travis, Linda, Peter, Amy, Conway, and Cal. Each guest has their own personal struggle to deal with, and they’re all hoping to win the prize. However, nobody actually knows what the game is.
Before the meal begins, everyone is instructed to hand over their phones and wallets. When dinner is served, Iris has a problem. She’s a vegetarian and the meal is meat-based. Shepard offers her money to eat the meal anyway, and she accepts. Conway, a recovering alcoholic, is offered the same amount to drink wine. He declines and is offered an even greater amount to drink more alcohol, which he accepts. When dinner ends, everyone is offered a chance to leave. Nobody accepts, so the game begins.
The game is a dangerous version of Would You Rather, where the players have to choose between two unpleasant options. If a decision isn’t made within 15 seconds, or if the player tries to leave, they are eliminated. In this case, “eliminated” means “killed” and the winner will be the last player left alive. Conway dies before the first round begins. Each round forces the players to either hurt someone else or themselves in increasingly dangerous ways.
Iris manages to win the game, but there’s a tragic twist to her victory. With an ending that feels just as bad as losing an escape room, Would You Rather leaves you thinking just how lucky one has to be to get through a game like this.
Devil hones in on a pretty common fear: being trapped in an elevator with strangers. From the beginning, the movie doesn’t shy away from death. It starts with a close-up of a suicide note that references the devil, near an open window of a skyscraper. In the same building, people are cramming into an elevator that they don’t know will be the worst ride of their lives.
When a worker shorts out the elevator, it stops between floors and the lights begin to flicker inside the elevator itself. Every time the lights go off and come back on, a new horror is revealed. The security guards watching the camera are unable to help people as the mirrors shatter, people injure or kill one another, and rescue teams die trying to save them.
A detective comes on scene and discovers that everyone trapped in the elevator has a criminal record, and one of the security guards believes that this is their judgement day. The characters turn on one another, lashing out in paranoia. The lights continue to flicker, leaving the audience to wonder what really happened in the moments of darkness.
It’s reminiscent of an escape room where nobody can clearly communicate and tensions are high, though escape rooms aren’t actually deadly in real life. Devil keeps the audience on their toes till the very end.
Exam starts as simple and innocent as it sounds. Eight candidates are brought into an examination room as a part of a formal interview process. They are given 80 minutes to answer a single question. They’re given three simple rules: do not talk to the guard or invigilator, do not spoil their paper, and do not leave the room. If they break any of these rules, they will be disqualified.
The candidates soon figure out that even writing on the paper ruins their chances of passing. However, they’re still allowed to talk to one another. One candidate, White, assigns nicknames to the others based on identifying characteristics. During their conversations, it’s revealed that the company has been working on a treatment for a viral pandemic.
The candidates watch as a timer counts down, they try different ways to search for hidden messages on the paper and figure out what the purpose of this exam is. White tries to sabotage some of the other candidates. He claims to have figured out what the question is but refuses to share it with the others. The remaining candidates turn on one another, forcing more disqualifications and physically attacking the others.
Not understanding the rules set before you, as well as not thinking about the simplest solutions, can lead you to miss important details. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves, so remember to slow down and consider what you missed.
One of the best ways to start an escape room is not knowing how you got there. Cube does just that, sticking five people together in a large cube with no idea how or why they got there. Each person has a different background and specialty.
Each cube is connected to another on each side through a small tunnel. One person warns that some of the rooms have traps. The characters test the rooms in different ways to see if they can trigger the trap before anyone enters, usually by tossing an item of clothing into the other room. This works at first, but an undetected trap kills one of them. Each room, it turns out, has a different sensor to trigger the traps.
The group assumes that the rooms have an order based in prime numbers, but that assumption is also wrong. Tensions rise as the group tries to figure out who made the cube and why they’re trapped in it. Even as they figure out the true pattern to the rooms, the people turn on one another.
Despite the monotonous scenery, Cube manages to offer both the characters and viewers a shocking and complex puzzle. The movie keeps you asking the types of questions that you’ll ask in escape rooms: “What? How? Why?”
The original deadly escape room. Saw keeps your blood racing and your heads thinking all the way through. Waking in an old bathtub and chained to a pipe, Adam has no idea how he got there or why. The small, rotten bathroom appears to contain very little: a clock, another man chained to the opposing wall, and a dead body.
Adam has a cassette tape that encourages him to survive at all costs. The other man, Lawrence Gordon, has his own tape that tells him to kill Adam before six, or else his daughter and wife will die. However, neither man can get near the other due to the chains keeping them apart. That is, until Adam finds a bag with some hacksaws in it. While trying to saw through the chains, one of the saws breaks, and Lawrence determines that the saws aren’t meant for the chains, but rather for their own legs.
As it turns out, they’ve been kidnapped by the Jigsaw Killer, a serial killer who uses deadly games to test his victims’ wills to survive. As the men try to figure out a way to escape, Lawrence’s family is held captive as their kidnapper watches the men struggle. When Lawrence fails his task, the kidnapper tries to kill his family. Alison, his wife, manages to fend off the attack long enough to be rescued.
Even when the characters finally see an end to their struggle, new plot twists keep the audience on edge. Different perspectives and backstories are spliced between moments of tension. Details are revealed every time the characters look a little closer. After our viewing of Saw X, we only want to urge you even more to see the stimulating scary movie that started it all.