Escape the Field is a film that doesn’t require much from its audience, giving them stereotypes and a simple escape room idea.
The premise of Escape the Field is identical to that of several other horror films. The cast includes Tahirah Sharif, who is fresh off her spectacular performance in Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Theo Rossi, who made an impression while acting in Sons of Anarchy. One of the most important aspects of crafting a picture about strangers forced to work together is having capable performers, which Escape The Field fortunately has, but they’re not playing intriguing characters. Unfortunately, none of the characters in Escape the Field are appealing or somewhat compelling. Instead, the audience watches as these people go around making one blunder after another.
Sharif, Rossi, Shane West, Jordan Claire Robbins, Elena Juatco, and Julian Feder play six strangers who wake up in a weird cornfield with nothing but a single object to help them escape. The strangers join together and discover that their belongings all bear the logo of their presumed captors, forcing them to trust one another and try to escape the field and whatever lies there.
The film is the debut feature of writer-director Emerson Moore and co-writers Sean Wathen and Joshua Dobkin, which is evident in a few critical scenes. Some scenes feature actors that deliver their lines half as well as they could have intended, resulting in stiff performances that detract from the film. A more experienced director would have insisted on a few more takes, but the ones that made it in are simply careless. Except for Sharif, who appears to know how to deliver her lines, the group lacks the intense desperation required to sell this scenario to viewers. Everyone else has a glazed expression and appears uninterested as they stroll through the maze. Jordan Claire Robbins is cast as the lead and the traditional “final girl,” but she lacks the necessary charisma to make an impression.
Escape the Field relies on its premise, enabling the protagonists to navigate a maze of half-baked riddles while the audience savours what little excitement the filmmakers can muster. A project like Escape Room, on the other hand, necessitates high-quality production design and high-concept riddles in order to interest its audience. In Escape the Field, however, the in-between moments are devoid of substance, with only character expositions to fill the awkward silences. The scares and fatalities are also lacking in imagination, which becomes more of a problem as the film progresses. Escape the Field piques audiences’ interest, but it doesn’t go much further.
In addition to the mediocre characters and the premise’s lack of inventiveness, the cinematography has a brown and grey tone that adds nothing to this already boring and lifeless plot. The film’s low quality is exacerbated by the absence of depth, which only serves to make the cornfield appear frightening yet unappealing. Despite its weaknesses, Escape the Field remains an enjoyable B-horror film. It’s a film that serves up archetypes, a simple escape room premise (with lots of questions and few answers), a monster lurking in the shadows, a final female who does what she needs to do, and a mind-numbing third act to its audience.
Finally, Escape the Field is only passable. It doesn’t live up to expectations, but if you give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed. Escape the Field tries, but there are more delightful and imaginative horror-thrillers about escape a maze. For starters, it is appropriate for a low-budget project. If the third act indicates that the filmmakers want to do more with the universe in the vein of Escape Room, one hopes they revisit its debut and learn from their missteps. If this occurs, an Escape the Field sequel could be one of the few sequels that outperforms its predecessor.