I read the reviews and I was intrigued even though the basic idea of the movie has been done before. An unknown organization is studying people put into a bad situation, for unknown reasons, where the people/human guinea pigs must struggle to survive or be killed if they fail the situational tests. I've seen this same kind of movie with the "Cube" movies as well as a couple of other movies where people are trapped inside an office building and forced to survive by killing each other or cheating other people to survive the situation. It's now an overused concept.
In this movie there are a number of unrelated people that are sent mysterious "invitations" to participate in an "Escape Room" where the winner takes home $10,000. Sounds OK, and even I'm intrigued enough to want to see what's up with this offer. They arrive at a large, business building complete with a single security guard at the reception desk - yeah, the building looked empty for a large office building, and only one security guard for such a large building seemed very suspicious to me.
They take the elevator to an upper level floor and enter an office with a large waiting area and a receptionist who is behind a opaque "closed" window who rudely doesn't even open the window to check people in, just tells them to come in. Again, very suspicious, but, the competitors don't seem to notice. They include one competitor who is the only one who has participated in such competitions so that he can inform the others what is going on and how to play the game. Otherwise, all of them would have been killed in the very first challenge. That made me suspect him as the "plant/mole." I won't spoil it by saying whether or not he is or isn't a plant.
Long story short, the competitors get into the competition unexpectedly and then every one of the Escape Rooms seems to have a limited amount of time to figure out or die. The good and the bad human survival characteristics come out of each of the competitors. It's an OK movie and things are revealed as to their seemingly unrelated connections to each other a little over half way through. In that respect, it is light years better than the stupid "Cube" movies that do not give any explanations at all about what is happening.
The Good: I liked this movie more than any of the "Cube" movies because it provided at least some kind of explanation for what is happening. And the ending is better than any of the "Cube" movies.
The Bad: Like the "Cube" movies, the people behind the "Escape Room" would have had to expend hundreds of millions of $ to make that supposedly dilapidated high rise building look "new" and add working "new" elevators, run power to the building, create the various rooms with moving ceilings/walls, and all the expensive furniture/props, and that "ice lake" room would have cost millions of $ alone. That's an unbelievably stupid amount of money that no one would expend just to study people's survival reactions and actions. And also, it would take months of construction to remake that building and yet the police never find out that it was done??? Furthermore, it would have taken months for them to completely deconstruct the entire building (removing all of the items they put into it) and make it look empty and dilapidated. Yet, when the cops enter the building, they don't seem the least bit suspicious that a dilapidated, empty, building has new looking, fully working elevators?????????
For these reasons I gave it 3 stars (these inconsistencies would have lowered it to a 2 1/2, but, that's not an option) instead of 4. The actors were good and the direction better than other, similarly themed movies. In fact, the budget was obviously much better than other similar movies and is evident in the sets as well as the quality of actors.