‘Escape the Field’ (2022) Review: An Abundance of Characters Encounter An Underwhelming Mystery
Emerson Moore’s Escape the Field involves six strangers, who wake up in the middle of a cornfield and have absolutely no idea how and why they ended up there. Each of the individuals is handed a single item and the tension and suspicion amongst them are evident. The movie makes a bold move to show spatial awareness, but the horror elements are dull and have no consistency.
The film doesn’t waste its time introducing the characters: Sam (Jordan Claire Robbins), who is a doctor and wakes up with a gun beside her and she meets Tyler (Theo Rossi), who has a small container of matches. Later, they are joined together by Afghan war veteran Ryan (Shane West), who has a lantern; Denise (Elena Juatco), a sceptical Pentagon worker with a knife; a student Ethan (Julian Feder), who has a compass, and Cameron (Tahirah Sharif), a programmer who doesn’t trust anyone and keeps a secret from them. The six strangers work together to solve many mysteries and clues using the objects they were given to them, but there is a looming threat with them in the cornfield.
From the beginning, Escape the Field has a hard time trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. The individuals are disconnected at the beginning, unable to trust each other and concerned someone is hiding a secret. It takes them a while to figure out the purpose of each item but once they do, they are able to further investigate other clues inside the cornfield. The cornfield is the main source of food and water, and each item leads them to find a clue that is essential to their survival. They are quick to admit defeat but with Sam’s quick-thinking, the others are able to pick up and apply themselves to the situation to face the challenges ahead of them.
Perhaps Escape the Field would have worked better if only two of the individuals were the central characters. The movie opens up with Sam and Tyler, with the former having more screen time compared to the rest of the individuals. She is the only person in the group that wants to escape and is smart enough to figure out that the tools were there for their advantage. As for the rest of the characters, there isn’t anything special about them. Ryan is more interested in finding and killing the mysterious creature that lurks inside the cornfield and Cameron is more scared of being left behind due to mistreatment in the past. It’s safe to say besides Sam, the movie doesn’t have any strong characters.
Overall, the underlying mystery of Escape the Field is underwhelming. At its core, this is a mediocre movie that achingly feels familiar and quite unenjoyable. Moore’s movie never seems to be intriguing enough to build tension to the audience. It relies heavily on dialogue and performance to convince the audience of the high concept but fails to present a challenging narrative. There isn’t any kind of interesting narrative, regardless of the challenges and map deciphers, which seem to lose the audience since they aren’t familiar with or understand it. There are familiar influences, but the way the concept and narrative are fleshed out creates a bland mystery where nothing exciting happens and is full of annoying characters. If the audience is waiting to see some blood and gore, it is best to keep the movie playing in the background or skip to the final act of the movie.
Edited by: Raayaa Imthiyaz