In 2019, Hollywood took the phenomenon of the escape room and transported it onto the big screen with the aptly titled “Escape Room.” The result was a less-than-stellar horror-thriller hybrid that showed tremendous promise, but couldn’t manage to develop engaging characters.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, a sequel has arrived in the form of “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions,” and with it comes more promise for the now franchise. The follow-up continues the story of Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller), the heroes from the first film, as they attempt to unmask the villains behind the Minos Corporation and connect with another group of escape room survivors.
The second film delivers on much of what the first could not. While it’s still by no means a masterpiece, it definitely has a much better understanding of what it’s trying to be. As a result, “Tournament of Champions” leans into the slasher, “Saw”-inspired horror elements, while also exploring and explaining the lore behind what is going on and why. But for those picking up the newly-released Blu-ray, they’ll be treated to even more than what they caught in theaters.
As a part of the home release, audiences will have a chance to explore the never-before-seen “Extended Cut,” which adds over 25 minutes of new material to the theatrical release. In reality, though, “extended” is a misnomer, as this new version feels more deserving of “alternate,” as it turns “Tournament of Champions” into a whole new movie. While the majority of the middle act featuring the titular escape rooms remains the same, the extended cut essentially presents an entirely new beginning and end. What’s most intriguing about these two alternate stories is that it doesn’t just feel like two routes to get to the same destination, but instead the way you get there feels like it’s a brand new result.
While the “Extended Cut” is certainly the biggest reason to pick up this home release, the Blu-ray does still come with a handful of bonus features. Let’s take a look!
Special Features on Blu-ray and Digital
- Dazzling but Deadly – In this six-minute featurette, the cast and crew take audiences behind the scenes of the different deadly escape rooms and exploring the sets.
- Upping the Ante – This featurette feels a little bit too self-congratulatory, as the cast and crew praise the franchise’s first film and explain how difficult it was to come up with something like “Tournament of Champions” that could top it. Spoiler alert: It’s not that hard.
- Game of Champions – Get a feel for the “players” in this five-minute featurette. Cast and crew interviews shed light on each of the film’s characters, both old and new.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.