Earlier this year, Escape Room's blend of a real-world scenario, engaging characters, and impressive set design led to it becoming a surprise hit, with the film's open-ended nature immediately inspiring ideas for follow-up adventures. After the film's successes, the studio revealed that a sequel would be moving forward, featuring the return of director Adam Robitel. With the film now out on home video, the director confirmed that things didn't always turn out for our characters the way they did in the theatrical cut and that one of the originally planned endings teased a much darker fate for our heroes, which potentially would have made a sequel much more difficult to develop.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Escape Room
In the theatrical ending, main characters Zoey and Ben manage to solve the puzzles and leave the escape room, only to discover more information about the organization who planned the deadly affair. One alternate ending hinted that the Minos organization had been involved in a tragedy in Zoey's past.
“In full disclosure, we had a test screening of an original ending which was much more nihilistic where Zoey ends up going back to her dorm room,” Robitel shared with Bloody Disgusting. "She’s been gaslit obviously and she finds a clue in one of her puzzle books that leads her back to the academic hall where we first met her. And underneath her desk, she finds a little note from the Puzzle Maker and her mother’s compass pendant. It was a really fucked up also implying that Minos maybe even had something to do with her mother’s plane crash. She’s like deer in headlights and it felt a little obvious. Then the puzzle maker voice comes on the loudspeaker and it’s like, ‘You ready to play again?’”
With the film being rated PG-13, it's possible that this ending was too dark for the intended audience, clearly removing a heavy amount of fun from the adventure. The filmmaker previously revealed that, within the constraints of the rating, one of the biggest challenges was avoiding cursing.
"I think the biggest thing for my actors was if you're in a harried, dangerous, almost terminal, fatal situation you're going to drop an F-bomb," Robitel shared with ComicBook.com. "That's the biggest tough thing with PG-13 you're gonna say a 'fuck.' If you're going to get killed, there's a 'fuck' coming out of your mouth."
He added, "Other than that, I like the challenge. For this movie to exist, I always said, it can't be about gore. I equated it to a psychological rollercoaster ride. Almost like the movie Gravity, right? You're not seeing Sandra Bullock get vivisected like you would in a Cube or a Saw. There were definitely comparisons and I knew that was coming, but for me, if the rooms themselves were this cool, visual, psychological extension of our characters, that was interesting to me. I just hadn't seen that before. For those reasons, I leaned into this movie needing to exist. Would I have liked to have set somebody on fire and gone that route? It's a choice, and, in some ways, the movie performs because it allowed people who don't have the stomach for that kind of stuff to enjoy it without getting so freaked out or turned off by it. I think the strength of it ultimately is what we're leaning into now as the franchise hopefully grows."
Escape Room is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, with the sequel slated to land in theaters on April 17, 2020.
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