reviewed by Matt Hayden
No Escape (Previously Follow Me)
Director: Will Wernick
Premiere Date (Streaming): Sept 18, 2020
No Escape—originally entitled Follow Me—is a horror film starring Keegan Allen and Holland Roden, about an online social media influencer celebrating ten years of making content under the moniker of Escape Real Life (ERL). After asking his fans and friends how to celebrate the milestone, they visit Moscow to take part in an escape room experience designed specifically for Allen.
The characters are not overly likeable. In fact, the audience doesn’t care for them at all, as they are rip offs of pretty much any horror film created. Allen’s character, especially, has an inflated ego. And Roden’s character references a second “version” of himself beyond his public face. But the film never shows us the private one.
Having the group go away to another country where they don’t speak the language is compelling. And the pairing with a guide who is excessively rich, seemingly holding large amounts of power in Moscow, led to an interesting atmosphere.
When thinking about the film start to finish, something always feels a little off (in an engaging way), but I can’t place my finger on what exactly it is. Could be the characters, the setting, or the manner by which they all communicate.
The film moves very quickly through two distinct acts which, for a 90-minute film, is not the most efficient use of time. But with the inability to split the film into two parts or add an extra 20-30 minutes, we have what we have. The acts are so separate and feel like a different film, to the point that we are left to wonder what maybe could have been if we had been given enough time to investigate the plot elements which unfold.
Plot and Reception
The trials in the escape room are rather contrived and not nearly as intricately thought out as in the film Escape Room which was released a year previous. All of this amounts to the film feeling like it could have been better, or at least better received had it been released prior to the aforementioned similar film. But with all of this said, the film has an outstanding ending, that makes me want to watch it again with someone who hasn’t seen it before.