The Ending Of Escape The Field Explained

"Escape the Field" is a thriller about six people who wake up in an endless cornfield, stripped of their possessions and left with no memory of how they got there. Each person wakes up with an item that might help them survive and escape. Sam (Jordan Claire Robbins) is the first person we meet when she awakens in her scrubs, laying next to a revolver with one bullet. Tyler, played by Theo Rossi from "Sons of Anarchy," awakes with a vial of matches in his jeans pocket and is the first to find Sam.

While searching for an exit, they cross paths with Ryan (Shane West), who has a camping lantern and two people accompanying him: Denise (Elena Juatco), who woke up with a knife, and Ethan (Julian Feder), who is equipped with a compass. Ryan points out that their items are all marked with the same symbol, suggesting they are a clue as to who brought them to the cornfield. When they meet Cameron (Tahirah Sharif), she claims she didn't wake up with an item like the others.

Once the group is assembled, they begin their search for a way out with the help of Ethan's compass. A businessman (Emerson Moore), who has the same items as the group, finds them in the cornstalks. He tells them there is "no way out" before being attacked by a creature, alerting the group to the presence of something hunting them through the corn stalks. Keep reading, and we'll explain the illusive ending of "Escape the Field." Fair warning: Spoilers ahead!

Denise is the first to be picked off by the creature

Denise is the first of the group to theorize about who brought them to the cornfield. She suspects the other group members, suggesting it might be someone in their group to Sam and Tyler while sitting by the campfire on their first night in the cornfield. Denise says she knows it isn't her or Ethan, doubts it's Sam, and isn't so sure about Tyler, but she implies Ryan and Cameron being relaxed enough to sleep suggests guilt.

The next day, Denise reveals that through her work with the Pentagon, she has reviewed data that could only be collected from experiments like what they are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, Denise is the first to be picked off by the creature hunting them, effectively silencing her theories about who is responsible for their predicament.

Still, the seeds of suspicion have been planted, and the audience will look for clues to confirm or deny both of her theories. Denise's demise, leaving behind only a bloody jacket and the knife she dropped during the attack, sets the stakes for "Escape the Field," letting everyone in the group and the audience know no one is safe.

Sam is the first to discover the tools they woke up with are keys to a puzzle

Tensions run high after Ryan discovers Cameron lied about having a flask of water. The group dynamic degenerates into arguing when Ethan's compass behaves weirdly, with the needle spinning. Cameron yells at him because he has been following the needle, not even knowing which direction he was headed, but when Ethan pushes her down, the group discovers a faucet in the cornstalks.

Sam, who is a trauma surgeon, realizes the compass wasn't leading them in a particular direction but to the water faucet. When the faucet doesn't have a handle, Sam notices the faucet can be turned on by using the compass as a key. While Ryan fills the flask with water, Sam sees a tree engraved on the flask. This leads her to believe their items are keys to solving a puzzle that will hopefully lead to their release from captivity.

This revelation builds upon Denise's suggestion that this nightmare is an exercise or experiment carried out by an organization or government, rather than the work of a sadistic individual hunting them while they are lost in the field. This discovery cements Sam as our protagonist and de facto leader of the group. Some critics have compared "Escape the Field" to "Escape Room" because it is about a group of strangers who don't know if they can trust each other but must work together to solve a puzzle to escape their captivity.

Ryan is injected with a red serum from a tranquilizer dart

After deciding as a group, with Cameron dissenting, they head for the tree, hoping to find the next clue in this high-stakes scavenger hunt. Ryan, an Afghanistan veteran with survivors' guilt, is injected with a red serum from a dart shot from one of the scarecrows that are strategically placed around the cornfield. Although there is no immediate effect from the serum, it is soon revealed the drug made Ryan a super soldier with enhanced strength and lightning-fast reflexes when he saves Sam from falling into a snare.

Ryan's temper accompanies enhanced strength and speed, becoming more intense and uncontrollable, and his eyes turn red when he is angry now. This event adds credibility to Denise's theory that this is an experiment, with each group member fulfilling a particular role. While Sam has taken the lead as the group's leader with her analytical mind, medical knowledge, and ability to think on her feet, Ryan has become the group's warrior, something he was already qualified for because of his experience in the military.

After Ryan saves Sam from the snare, he confides in her about the serum, showing her the vial, and asks her to keep an eye on him because he feels different after being injected with the serum. This development makes us suspect that at some point the group may need to protect themselves from Ryan, the creature, and whoever is behind this experiment or twisted game.

The group discovers a map on the tree using the lantern

Despite their many missteps and inability to agree on their actions and goals, once they make it to the tree, they work together as a team. Ethan peels away the bark on the tree, revealing a grid carved into the tree, and Cameron suggests they need something to overlay on the grid to reveal the map. Tyler notices an unusual pattern on the top of a fence post directly across from the tree. Ryan realizes the bottom of his lantern fits perfectly onto the fence post.

Tyler twists the glass of the lantern until it casts a shadow on the grid, revealing a path between the points on the grid. This confirms the items are keys to the puzzle and gives the group hopes there may actually be an escape from the cornfield. The group understands the lines on the grid denote the fence lines and they determine the direction they must head and the number of rows they must cross to follow the path of the map, expressing their excitement about solving the puzzle.

Tyler is the second member of the group to be attacked by the creature

After discovering the map on the tree, the creature attacks Tyler and drags him into the cornstalks and away from the tree as the group scatters in a panic. Ryan and Sam pursue the creature looking for Tyler, while Cameron and Ethan run away from the creature in a panic. The creature injured Tyler, but he survives the attack because Ryan fights the creature off.

Ryan then leaves Tyler in Sam's care, because Ryan is now intent on finding and killing the creature rather than trying to escape the field with the group. Tyler has an abdomen wound that Sam tells him is "okay" before she applies pressure to stop the bleeding, using his chambray shirt to tie a makeshift bandage around his torso. Sam asks if he saw the creature, but Tyler said didn't see it.

The attack happens so quickly and under the cover of night, making it impossible for Tyler to see what attacked him. After patching him up, Sam insists they keep moving, suggesting Tyler and Sam expect the rest of the group to catch up now that they all know which direction to go. Despite working together at the tree to find the map, the group is now dispersed, suggesting they have their own paths to follow now.

Ethan is the fourth in their group to be injured

In the confusion that ensues after the creature attacks Tyler, Cameron falls down and loses her glasses while fleeing. While scrambling in the dark looking for her glasses, Cameron becomes frightened by noises of someone or something coming toward her through the cornstalks, and she accidentally stabs Ethan, a teenager who was kidnapped from his prep school, with the knife she found after Denise was attacked.

Although Cameron, who is a computer coder, has proved herself to be an intelligent and valuable member of the group by helping illuminate the map on the tree, she has mostly been a minor antagonist in the group, proving herself to be dishonest, selfish, and unable to handle pressure. First, she injures herself fleeing when the creature attacks the businessman; second, she lies about having the water flask; and third, she raises tensions in the group by disagreeing with everyone about everything.

After Ryan finds and then abandons Cameron and Ethan to hunt the creature, Cameron is terrified of what she has done, and flees into the cornstalks, leaving Ethan for dead. This violent act severs Cameron from the group, leaving her alone and panicked, and running through the darkness in the cornstalks toward her own demise. This incident also gives Cameron the distinction of being the only group member responsible for harming another member of their party.

Sam makes a breakthrough with one of the scarecrows

The next day, Tyler and Sam have survived the night and find yet another scarecrow. Sam realizes the map is sewn into the pattern on the jacket the scarecrows wear, and that each scarecrow signifies a point on the map clearly marked on the jackets. Sam's frenetic movements and wild eyes might make you think she is cracking up, but there is a logic to what she sees on the jacket and it corresponds to the map on the tree.

Beneath the jacket, Tyler discovers a red handle protruding from under one of the scarecrow's arms and pulls it, revealing a control panel hidden on the back of the scarecrow. The control panel turns on with the compass as the faucet did, and there is a card with two diagrams and a series of switches inside the control panel. This once again proves there are solutions to the puzzles, giving Sam and Tyler hope they still might escape the field.

The control panel on the scarecrow reveals an opening in the cornstalks

Once Sam flips the switches in the same pattern as the diagram on the card, a row of corn stalks move on a motorized track, revealing a fresh path in the cornfield. Sam and Tyler apprehensively enter what is revealed to be a maze they become trapped inside of when the access door locks. The maze is filled with booby traps that are marked on another diagram Sam finds after rescuing Tyler from quicksand.

Sam uses her wits and the card from the scarecrow to navigate through the maze, feeling encouraged, because they have solved each puzzle. This gives her hope there is still an escape from the cornfield. This also shows Sam to be the most resourceful and attentive member of her group. If this experiment is a test or game, Sam is the only member of the group who is truly rising to the challenge.

The maze leads to a machine housed in a shipping container

When they find the shipping container, Sam is hopeful but soon becomes frustrated when Tyler says they need both the bullet from her gun and the knife to turn the machine on and solve the puzzle. Sam leaves Tyler in the shipping container and retraces her steps to retrieve the knife, which is still in Ethan's gut. When Sam finds Ethan, he is lying in a clearing where a fire is burning and the carcass of a human torso is on a spit, ready to roast.

Before she can enter the clearing to retrieve the knife from Ethan's corpse, Ryan finds Sam in the shadows and stops her. Ryan is much changed by the serum and hunting the creature. His eyes are now red, and he tells Sam to stay away from him, implying it is for her own safety. When Sam enters the clearing to retrieve the knife, she discovers Ethan is still alive despite his injuries. Before she can do anything to help him, the creature attacks and kills Ethan.

If you are paying attention during the scene, you may notice there are piles of items, like many discarded lanterns the group members woke up with, suggesting this group is just one in a long line of people who have awoken in the cornfield and are forced to play the game as Sam has done.

The creature is revealed to be a human who was dosed with the red serum

After the creature attacks and kills Ethan, Sam realizes the Creature (Jeff Kress) is a human, when she sees his red eyes after he kills Ethan it is obvious he was also exposed to the red serum, giving us a clear picture of Ryan's future. Ryan saves Sam by attacking the creature and they engage in intense hand-to-hand combat as Sam escapes.

Ryan asks the creature, "How the h*** did you survive out here so long?" The creature doesn't respond and walks into the cornstalks where Ryan pursues the creature, saying, "It's time to die," before falling into a snare like the one Ryan saved Sam from earlier in the film. Although we hear Ryan yell in pain, a fine red vapor rises from the hole, suggesting Ryan may have been dosed with the red serum again, making Ryan's fate unclear. Is he dead or on his way to becoming a monster?

Solving the puzzle in the shipping container leads nowhere

After Sam returns to the shipping container and turns it on with Tyler's help, all the lights come on, and a humming begins before the machine shuts down and nothing happens. Tyler and Sam are on the edge of madness laughing, but when the machine shuts down Tyler is outraged, saying, "They're f***ing with us. It's just a game to them." This is when Sam responds, "I'm done playing their game."

After helping Tyler out of the shipping container, she fills it with dried corn stalks and uses Tyler's matches to burn the corn stalks she has strewn in the shipping container. If Sam can't win her freedom by solving the puzzles, she wants to burn their experiment to the ground once she is pushed over the edge.

This last puzzle not leading to an escape, a new puzzle, or more information, certainly strengthens Denise's suggestion they are part of an experiment carried out by an organization or government. It seems this is not a game they can win by playing, but an exercise designed to see how people perform under life-threatening pressure.

The creature kills Tyler before Sam kills the creature

Tyler is the second character we meet at the beginning of the film, and in the end, it is only Sam and Tyler left, our two main characters together, mirroring how the film began. As they watch the fire burning in the distance, the creature sneaks up behind them and kills Tyler, stabbing him in the back, before it goes after Sam, who escapes into the cornstalks.

The creature pursues Sam into the vegetation, and she puts up a fight before the creature stabs her in the gut, saying, "There is no way out" in a voice that is barely recognizable as human. In a last-ditch effort to save herself, Sam lights the corn stalks the creature has disguised itself with on fire with the matches she took from Tyler, pushing the creature into the shipping container where it will burn to death.

The film ends as it began with Sam unconscious in a clearing in the endless cornfieldĀ 

The film begins and ends with Sam unconscious. As figures emerge from the cornstalks wearing gas masks, we hear a female voice say, "Evac. Transport. Action one. Medical team prep for arrival. That's affirmative. Retrieve subjects for phase two. Primary is priority. Repeat. Primary is priority. Green. Green. Phase two green. Operation complete. Green. All subjects are a priority. Alpha." This both confirms the group was part of an experiment and suggests there is the possibility of a sequel.

Jordan Claire Robbins of "Umbrella Academy," who played Sam, told MovieWeb, "I think the film sort of leaves you with more questions than answers, and I think that's what's interesting about it... I know that there are plans to hopefully do a couple more films. I would love to return as Sam. It's a great character, and I think that where they want to go with it, from what I know, is really fun and smart."

We don't know if the group responsible for the experiment is a government agency or a private organization, but the jargon used suggests a military structure. It also suggests there are numerous subjects when we hear zone four mentioned in the background as the camera pans out to reveal the cornfield outside a large city with a river cutting through the city. Some suggest this is an alien landscape comparing the film to "Predators," while a Reddit thread suggests the city is London.

A post-credit scene confirms there is a continuous loop of groups

A post-credit scene in "Escape the Field" features Cameron finding a new group of six people in the cornfield, while babbling incoherently about there being six and no escape, just as the businessman did at the beginning of the film. Ryan attacks and kills Cameron in this post-credit scene. This scene confirms Ryan survived falling into the trap while battling the original creature and has now transformed into the creature himself.

This scene gives us confirmation there is an endless loop of the experiments with two of the survivors from one group interacting with the next group of six. But, it also suggests that each group member fulfills a function, falling into a role predestined by the experiment. Ryan becomes the creature, Cameron becomes the frantic businessman who broke under the pressure, and Sam moves on to the next phase of the experiment, while Ethan, Tyler, and Denise were sacrificed to the experiment.

Signal Horizon compared "Escape the Field" to the '90s sci-fi thriller "Cube" because both films are about a group of strangers, with no memory of their abductions, who must work together to escape their captivity. "Cube" became a movie franchise, but it remains to be seen if "Escape the Field" will spawn a film series as well.