It’s curious how lately these kind of “Escape Room” events are quite popular among young people in North America, Europe and East Asia. Those venues where you go with your group of friends and have to face all kinds of tests, quizzes and quests, either physical or mental, depending on the kind of theme the game is about. Perhaps the popularity of a franchise like SAW, where the evil Jigsaw played deadly games with groups of random people has something to do with this new hype. Or the fact that escaping from a zombie apocalypse sounds like a fun idea for a weekend, as far as no one is really hurt. I could call it the evolution of classic paintball or laser war games, taking this basic team missions into solving puzzles and getting all the clues together in order to avoid the traps. The most common themes and storylines that are often found in escape rooms include zombies, haunted houses, science laboratories, prisons, pirates, hostage, and kidnappings.
Play or Die (2019) is a Belgian production about two people trying to survive in one of these popular escape room games. The official plot reads:
Welcome to Paranoia, the ultimate escape game. Rule #1: Nothing is real. Rule #2: One of you will die. Lucas and Chloe, two passionate gamers, decide to participate in Paranoia, a very exclusive escape game. After solving the first riddle, they make it to the location of the finale in an abandoned mental hospital, lost in a frightening forest. There, four other participants are waiting for them. They soon realize that only one of them will get out of there alive. Based on the best selling novel Puzzle by Franck Thilliez, with more than 330’000 copies sold: “Hellish settings, characters manipulated like puppets, all the key ingredients to great suspense. All the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly“.
The movie has been directed by debutant Jacques Kluger, who was also the author of the screenplay together with Amiel Bartana. Charley Palmer Rothwell, Roxane Mesquida, Laetitia Chambon, Helena Chambon, Koah Edwards, Daphné Huynh, Thomas Mustin and Marie Zabukovec star in the film.
Play or Die (2019) is available in Video on Demand channels like Amazon Prime. Here you can find the official trailer for the movie:
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