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10 Best Escape Room Movies That Will Lock in Your Attention

10 Best Escape Room Movies That Will Lock in Your Attention

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Escape rooms have become a hugely popular real-world pastime in recent years. Groups of friends eagerly flock to locked rooms filled with clues and puzzles, racing against the clock to escape before time runs out. Filmmakers have used this concept to deliver some of the most nail-biting thrillers ever released.

In these movies, the characters face life-or-death stakes as they scramble to piece together cryptic clues and unlock elaborate puzzles. From sinister scientists to sadistic game masters, the masterminds behind these traps up the ante with each twist and turn.

On this list, we’ll count down our favorite movies that have brought the escape room concept to theaters. With mind-bending puzzles and treacherous traps, these films offer an immersive, pulse-pounding movie escape room experience. Let the games begin!

Battle Royale (2000)

Where to watch:Roku, freevee, Vudu, Plex, Kanopy, Now TV (UK)
IMDb rating:7.5
Trailer:Watch here

Though it may seem an unlikely candidate for an “escape room” movie, the Japanese cult classic Battle Royale delivers all the white-knuckle thrills and ingenious twists we love in the genre.

In this dystopian thriller, a class of students are dumped on an island and forced to fight to the death until only one remains. Trapped in an inescapable arena filled with hidden dangers, they must rely on grit and strategy to survive.

While there may not technically be an “escape room” to break out of, the characters face the same desperate race against time and lethal obstacles. Battle Royale’s shocking premise and twisted teen-on-teen brutality inspired later franchises like The Hunger Games.

Though it ranks low on our list due to its lack of a defined “room,” Battle Royale gave us many of the elements that make escape room films so exciting today. Its visionary influence alone makes it one of the most noteworthy entries in the genre.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Still from the The Cabin in the Woods (2011) movie featuring from left to right, Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Dana (Kristen Connolly)
Where to watch:Roku, DirecTV, Now TV (UK)
IMDb rating:7
Trailer:Watch here

The Cabin in the Woods adds a devilishly ingenious twist to the escape room genre. On the surface, it’s a classic horror story – a group of college kids partying in an isolated forest cabin get stalked by sinister forces. But they’re not just trapped in the cabin – they’re players in an elaborate game.

As they try to flee the horrors in the woods, we learn there’s a vast underground complex manipulating their fate. Elder gods, classic movie monsters, Sigourney Weaver – the movie keeps upping the stakes with its twists.

Cabin in the Woods shatters all the rules, subverting viewer expectations at every turn. It’s the ultimate escape room movie, trapping both the characters and the audience in an elaborate meta-puzzle.

Exam (2009)

Still from the escape room horror movie Exam (2009)
Where to watch:AMC+, DirecTV
IMDb rating:6.8
Trailer:Watch here

Exam brings the escape room concept to the corporate world in an ingenious style. Eight job candidates compete for a coveted position at a mysterious company. The final test is one none of them fully understands. A blank piece of paper – that’s all they’re given.

As the movie progresses, the participants try to answer this seemingly impossible dilemma. They can’t damage the paper, or write on it – basically, the paper is untouchable. Still, the company’s CEO needs an answer, and it might be humanity’s last hope.

Exam cleverly subverts the typical escape room premise, using the pressure cooker setting to explore ethics and human nature. With no physical traps, the mind games and psychological torment provide the movie’s nail-biting thrills.

The film keeps viewers guessing while ratcheting up the mental chess match, proving escape rooms can be just as gripping even without lethal contraptions and gore.

Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room (2019) movie poster
Where to watch:Fubo, Hulu, DirecTV, Netflix (UK)
IMDb rating:6.4
Trailer:Watch here

With a name like Escape Room, it only makes sense to include this thriller on this list. In the film, a group of strangers compete for a cash prize by surviving a series of elaborate, deadly escape rooms. As the death toll rises, they must band together and find the clues to break free.

Where Escape Room lacks in narrative complexity, it excels in crafting memorably creative challenges. The dedicated cast adds charm even to the thinly sketched characters. While easy to predict, Escape Room moves briskly, pitting its players against increasingly insidious games.

It may follow a standard formula, but Escape Room is perfectly calibrated for maximum fun, serving wicked traps and thrills fit for casual viewers and hardcore escape room fans alike.

The movie got a sequel in 2021, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. While it did expand the film’s universe, it’s not as gripping as its predecessor. Still, fans of the genre can’t go wrong with this series.

Fermat’s Room (2007)

Still image from the Fermat's Room (2007) movie
Where to watch:AMC+, DirecTV
IMDb rating:6.6
Trailer:Watch here

The cerebral Spanish thriller Fermat’s Room puts a diabolical twist on the escape room formula. Four mathematicians are invited to solve a legendary enigma. But this puzzle party turns lethal when they find themselves trapped in a room that shrinks with each failed riddle.

To survive, they must cooperate to solve a series of complex math problems while also deducing the sinister connection between them. Fermat’s Room adds high-concept intrigue to the standard escape room formula, providing equal parts logic puzzles and psychological drama.

Who would’ve guessed seeing mathematicians solving riddles could make for a gripping thriller? For those seeking an escape room movie that stimulates the brain over cheap thrills, Fermat’s Room is a must-watch.

Follow Me (2020)

Follow Me (2020) movie poster
Where to watch:Prime Video
IMDb rating:5.4
Trailer:Watch here

For those of you who can’t stand influencer culture, Follow Me is the perfect film. Celebrity vlogger Cole and friends travel to Moscow for an exclusive escape room adventure. But this sinister social-media-themed game soon turns into a sadistic fight for survival.

Trapped in an abandoned building, the group endures sinister challenges based on viral stunts and online fame, punishment awaiting any failure. As the body count rises, they desperately seek a way out before the traps – or their captors – finish them off.

Follow Me lurches forward slowly before embracing the bloody mayhem fans expect. Once the games begin, it’s a non-stop gauntlet of cringe-inducing violence and escalating stakes. It’s a 21st-century House of Horrors tailor-made for the social media era.

Stay Alive (2006)

Stay Alive (2006) movie poster
Where to watch:Prime Video (buy or rent)
IMDb rating:5
Trailer:Watch here

Stay Alive brings a tech-savvy twist to escape room thrills with its Supernatural video game premise. When a group of friends plays a new horror game, they soon find themselves trapped in the nightmarish world of its 17th-century witch trials setting.

Anyone who “dies” in the game faces the same grisly fate in real life. To survive, they must master the game’s puzzles and defeat its horrors before the line between reality and simulation vanishes completely. Stay Alive was ahead of its time, blending digital scares with real-world danger years before escape room fever struck.

Though more Final Destination than Saw, Stay Alive still flirts with the escape room formula. It also provided some rather gruesome executions. Stay Alive is cheesy, but visceral.

Saw (2004)

Still from the Saw (2004) movie
Where to watch:Hulu, Starz, AMC+, DirecTV, Netflix (UK only)
IMDb rating:7.6
Trailer:Watch here

The diabolical classic that started it all, Saw turned escape rooms into blood-soaked spectacles of chaos. When two strangers wake chained in a grimy bathroom, they must push past their panic to escape before their time runs out in a deadly game.

But the deranged mastermind behind their ordeal has more twisted lessons in store, spawning an entire subgenre of sinister, trap-filled diversions. While later Saw sequels would double down on gratuitous gore, the original mixes its visceral thrills with psychological tension.

With its sparse cast and confined bathroom setting, Saw focuses inward, crafting an unmatched thriller. Shocking and inventive in its violence, the movie delivers a perverse master class in escape room gamesmanship.

Jigsaw’s demented puzzles and stark industrial lair provided the blueprint for future escape thrillers. Saw lured viewers into a claustrophobic world of violence from which the genre has yet to escape.

Jigsaw (2017)

Close up of the character Jigsaw in the Jigsaw and Saw horror escape room movies
Where to watch:Prime Video, Fubo, MGM+, Sky/Now TV (UK)
IMDb rating:5.7
Trailer:Watch here

The Saw franchise returns to its escape room roots with 2017’s Jigsaw. A group of strangers wakes up chained inside a remote barn, forced to play a sadistic game overseen by the infamous Jigsaw Killer. Doesn’t matter if he’s been dead for a decade at this point.

Jigsaw aims for more emotional drama compared to earlier Saw films, developing its characters more deeply before unleashing the horrors. But once the sinister games begin, it’s full-on Saw madness. The victims desperately scour the barn for clues and tools to stop their execution, leading to gruesome fates for those who fail.

While not the most polished Saw film, Jigsaw satiates our appetite for the franchise’s fiendish puzzles and gory traps. The barn makes for an intense, claustrophobic setting as the players race to uncover Jigsaw’s latest twisted scheme.

Cube (1997)

Still image from the Cube (1997) movie
Where to watch:Roku, Vudu, Plex, Kanopy, Prime Video (UK)
IMDb rating:7.1
Trailer:Watch here

The cult classic Cube is the epitome of narrative minimalism, trapping strangers in a lethal maze of mystery. When a group of randomly selected individuals wakes up inside a booby-trapped industrial cube, they must band together to find a way out before meeting a grisly fate.

As they navigate the cube’s endless series of identical rooms, some tricked out with deadly traps, their terror mounts along with their questions. Who built this sadistic maze? Why were they chosen? Cube leaves its secrets unsolved, increasing the tension.

With its claustrophobic setting and mysterious plot, Cube crafted the ultimate escape room thriller. It keeps both its characters and viewers in the dark, guessing until the very end.

Cube proves that stripped-down psychological horror can be just as gripping as gory extravagance. Its enduring enigma cements its place as the prototype that launched the killer escape room genre.