Next double feature is here! We’re at the E selections from Netflix and Shudder with the following titles respectively: 2017’s Escape Room and 2014’s Exists.
Escape Room (2017)
Director (and co-writer): Will Wernick
Cast: Evan Williams, Annabelle Stephenson, Elisabeth Hower, Dan J. Johnson, John Ierardi, Kelly Delson, Iris Avalee
Six friends test their intelligence when an escape room they participate in takes a dark and twisted turn. – IMDB
Let’s make one thing clear that this isn’t the more recent 2019’s Escape Room (review). I have to make it clear because while the 2019 one had some issue but it was much better than this Escape Room which was a rather nonsensical version with some very unnecessary elements and unappealing characters that gets themselves into the situation.
This escape room takes a group of friends celebrating a birthday party for this guy whose girlfriend breaks out of the norm to gift them this experience for all the friends. Its an expensive expense but one that was surprising. It takes them a good half of the movie before they find out that this isn’t a game. Its a bit silly of how they didn’t find out especially when their goal was to save this girlfriend who was sitting in a cage naked! If it was a 2 person escape room, sure, maybe it made sense because it would be sexy outcome or whatever but this was with 4 other friends than this couple and friends that seemed to have their own connections with each other like siblings and affairs, etc. It tries really hard to pad out these rather shallow characters.
If there was one thing that kind of worked was that one scene where it had the characters stuck in a locked room. It was obvious that nothing good was going to happen with the contraption but it was kind of gross and somehow fit in as the turning point of revelation for these characters. As for everything else, it was badly executed with some really annoying characters to watch that really didn’t peak my interest much.
Director (and co-writer): Eduardo Sanchez
Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis, Brian Steele, Jeff Schwan
A group of friends who venture into the remote Texas woods for a party weekend find themselves stalked by Bigfoot. – IMDB
Full points for originality of tackling the Bigfoot premise that I haven’t seen much of (I haven’t, but maybe there is that I haven’t discovered). Exists is directed and co-written by one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez. He definitely feels like a one-trick pony as Exists changes the Blair Witch story into the Bigfoot story also set in the woods and executed in found footage. However, playing to your strengths is never a bad thing because Exists does deliver for the most part. It has some common elements like its gang of friends heading out and making some silly decisions but its all part of these stories.
It feels like abandoned woods and the great mysterious outdoors is a great setting as long as it is utilized well. Exists manages to keep it well-paced. It uses its found footage elements properly to show off their isolated atmosphere. Its something of “A Road Less Traveled” idea when they first go to the cabin of these brothers who shouldn’t be there in the first place due to some unknown reasons. Of course, these guys use this time to pull off some relaxing and fun moments filming stunts and whatnot until they realize that there is something much bigger that has suddenly taken an interest in hunting them down. The ending of this story actually does work as to why and a somewhat common direction when dealing with creatures hunting humans.
One of its biggest successes and one that I love about this the most is that the budget didn’t affect how they portrayed Bigfoot. The control on how much of Bigfoot to reveal in every time it appears is done so well and its definitely the way that it should have been done in order to keep them guessing on what this creature looks like completely and how horrifying it is. At the same time, even when we get the full reveal, it still works. I would argue that I’m not sure how I feel about the ending but then, I would still recommend Exists for all its strengths and doing a good job in execution. There’s are some tense moments and that’s what makes these horror films thrilling to watch.
That’s it for this E double feature!
Have you seen these two films?
Also, any other Bigfoot movies to recommend (to expand my knowledge a little)?