Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Escape Room.
Escape Room's ending has multiple twists and one massive sequel tease that sets up a much bigger mystery. Directed by Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key), the psychological horror thriller spins an intriguing yarn around six strangers playing a game that turns deadly that keeps the audience guessing who will survive all the way to the end.
Escape Room begins a bit like The Breakfast Club: shy physics student Zoey (Taylor Russell), cocky stockbroker Jason (Jay Ellis), former soldier Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), video game-obsessed nerd Danny (Nik Dodani), trucker Mike (Taylor Labine), and burnout Ben (Logan Miller) receive invitations to participate in an Escape Room on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly everyone agrees to play for the promised $10,000 prize except for Jason, who is here as a courtesy to his billionaire client. After arriving at the Chicago skyscraper owned by Minos Escape Rooms, a company renowned for its high-quality escape room experiences, the six participants quickly discover this is no innocent game of solving clues and building teamwork. They are immediately locked in their waiting room, which becomes a giant oven that they must solve puzzles to escape before it roasts them alive. From there, the challenges get even more esoteric and dangerous.
The hapless contestants gradually learn that each deadly room contains oddly familiar elements with specific details tied to traumatic events in their past. After surviving the waiting room-turned-oven and figuring out how to escape the next room, a winter hunting lodge, they suddenly find themselves on a simulated frozen lake where they risk hypothermia. Danny, the escape room expert who never doubted this was all just an elaborate game, is suddenly killed when he falls through the ice and drowns. The rest make it to the next room: an upside-down pool hall where the floor slowly collapses into a multi-story drop. Zoey solves the puzzle so that Amanda is able to unlock a safe containing the key to the next room but Amanda falls to her death in the process.
The remaining players find themselves in a hospital triage room eerily familiar to each of them - until the room fills with poison gas. Since the clue to escape is an EKG machine, Jason forces Mike to endure a defibrillator, which ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Zoey succumbs to the poison gas as Jason and Ben make it to the next room: a zebra-patterned Alice in Wonderland-like room where they are poisoned with a hallucinogen - and only one antidote. After a struggle, Ben accidentally kills Jason and makes it to the final room: a well-appointed study where the wall threatens to crush him like the Death Star's trash compactor - but he is miraculously able to survive it. Here's how Escape Room's twisty ending then plays out and what it all means:
- This Page: Escape Room's Ending & Victims Explained
- Page 2: Escape Room's Minos Secret & Sequel Set Up Explained
What Happened At The End of Escape Room?
Ben surviving the Escape Room thanks to the final clue of "following the light" - i.e. taking refuge in the fireplace - took the Minos corporation by surprise. After making it out of the crushed study, Ben found himself in a new environment: a warehouse with leather couches and a giant leaderboard with all of the faces of his fellow players X'd out except for his. Ben learns he's the winner of the game and he meets the mysterious Gamesmaster (Yorick Van Wageningen), who explains that Ben was a dark horse that no one expected to make it to the end (Jason was the favorite to win). However, after explaining the true nature of the Escape Room, the Gamesmaster then garrotes Ben and tries to murder him - because there is no $10,000 prize and there can ultimately be no survivors. But Ben is saved by Zoey.
In the triage room, Zoey began to understand that the game was rigged for everyone to ultimately fail. There were cameras watching and recording them in every room, therefore the Minos corporation that runs the game was able to predict their every move and adjust the game accordingly. As a physics grad student, Zoey applied the Quantum Zeno Effect: the principle that atoms won't move while they're being watched; Zoey began smashing all of the cameras in the hospital setting as the poison gas seeped in. Zoey then pretended to succumb to the gas but since the cameras were gone, Minos didn't know she was using an oxygen mask to survive and play dead. A Minos clean-up crew wearing hazmat suits then entered to dispose of Zoey and Mike's bodies, only for Zoey to get the drop on them, steal their guns, and weave her way through the secretly hidden halls of the building. She made it to the warehouse just in time to save Ben from the Gamesmaster.
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Escape Room's game actually continued with the Gamesmaster becoming a player vs. Ben and Zoey, but the two managed to kill the Gamesmaster. Zoey then took Ben to the hospital and wisely called the police but when she led them back to the Minos building, they found it abandoned, with no trace left of the elaborate death traps built into the complex. However, graffiti left on the walls spelled "NO WAY OUT", which Zoey quickly realized was an anagram for "WOOTAN YU", a mysterious person the players originally believed was the Gamesmaster and who was referenced all throughout Escape Room. Zoey took this as a personal challenge to take the fight to the Minos corporation.
Why The Six Escape Room Victims Were Chosen
Escape Room gradually revealed why these particular six people were chosen to play the game: Jason, Zoey, Mike, Ben, Danny and Amanda are all the sole survivors of tragic accidents. Zoey lived through a plane crash in Vietnam that killed her parents, Ben survived a car accident but his friends died, Mike was a miner who survived a cave in that killed his little brother, and Jason managed to live through an ocean boating accident and hypothermia that claimed the life of his best friend. Similarly, Danny survived an accident that killed his family and Amanda was the lone survivor of an IED attack that claimed the lives of her unit in Iraq but left her horribly scarred both physically and emotionally.
The Minos corporation thoroughly researched all six, tailoring rooms to simulate the traumatic events they survived. The waiting room that became an oven triggered Amanda's particular trauma while the hunting lodge required Ben to remember that he and his friends were drunkenly singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" before their fatal car accident. Jason seemed to be especially targeted as Minos duplicated the exact jacket he wore to prevent hypothermia during his ordeal on the ocean. It seemed like Minos especially was banking on Jason to win the game, but Ben managed to provoke the possible hidden truth that Jason was lying about how he survived and that he actually drowned his best friend to increase his own chances.
Page 2 of 2: Escape Room's Minos & Sequel Set Up Explained
- Escape Room (2019) release date: Jan 04, 2019