Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

35 Horror Movies Like Escape Room You Need To Watch

There is a long and illustrious cinematic tradition of confining characters within close quarters and turning up the heat. This is quite literally the case in 2019's "Escape Room," a remarkably charming horror-thriller directed by Adam Robitel that sees a group of six strangers launched into a series of deadly puzzles based around their past traumas. Grounded by a compelling ensemble cast ranging from a shy math wiz (Taylor Russell) to an Army veteran (Deborah Ann Woll), the gang must work together and keep their heads on straight in order to stay alive.

If you saw "Escape Room" and thought to yourself, "Gee, I could certainly go for more of that," we've got you covered. Lucky for you, there are plenty of films that exploit this especially fruitful corner of the cinematic psyche. Because, as with "Escape Room" itself, whether it's a siege film or a murder mystery, confined genre flicks are a rich space for character study. And that never goes out of style. So whip out your watchlists (keep an eye out for clues) and read on for the films we think you'll enjoy if you got a kick out of "Escape Room."

This list assumes that you have seen (and enjoyed) "Escape Room," so be wary of spoilers ahead for the 2019 film.

The Most Dangerous Game

At the risk of giving away a nearly century-old punchline, "The Most Dangerous Game" is, rather infamously, mankind. And we'd like to think that the shadowy organization pulling the strings behind "Escape Room" would see a lot of themselves in Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks), a mad eccentric recluse who's intent on proving that he's an apex predator capable of out-smarting and out-hunting even the most capable representatives of the human race. 

The three survivors of a somewhat suspect shipwreck are initially grateful for their gracious host, but when the Count's true, murderous intentions are revealed, a deadly game of cat and mouse launches the trio into a veritable nightmare of kill or be killed. An economic and wildly influential horror-thriller, "The Most Dangerous Game" is the granddaddy of the vast majority of the films on this list and certainly worth your time at a brisk 78-minute runtime.

The 9th Guest

It's fun to know that human beings have pretty much always been obsessed with movies about trapping a group of strangers in a confined space and forcing them to work together to outwit their devious host. Case in point, 1934's pre-Code mystery "The 9th Guest," which sees eight strangers summoned by telegram to a penthouse apartment filled with horrifying, fatal surprises. 

Locked in the apartment, the gang is introduced to the ninth guest. (Spoiler alert, as the dramatic voice informs the guests, the ninth guest is death itself). Directed by genre film heavyweight Roy William Neill (who readers may know from "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" and "Terror by Night"), "The 9th Guest" is an entertaining and shockingly early entry in the closed-room murder mystery that gets to the heart of what the subgenre is all about — unlocking the puzzle of the human psyche. If you can readily find it, and you have a soft spot for nearly century-old cinematic fare, we heartedly recommend giving this old gem a watch.

And Then There Were None

Arguably the finest feature film adaptation of (inarguably) the greatest literary murder mystery of all time, 1945's "And Then There Were None" wrote the book, as it were, on what have since become horror-thriller mainstays. 

Ten strangers, unsure of what connects them to one another, are summoned via letters to a mansion on a remote island. While the guests await their host, a recorded message levies serious, incriminating accusations against each and every one of them. Then, when their number begins to dwindle thanks to an unseen killer, the characters resolve that there is a murderer in their midst. 

Agatha Christie's masterpiece is starkly rendered here in unambiguous black and white, imparting a stark moral clarity absent from our dirty-handed ensemble cast. Don't let its age fool you — this classic has plenty of bite and more than enough character-driven chills to worm deep under your skin.

House on Haunted Hill

A group of strangers desperate for cash that could turn their lives around all agree to participate in the party of a lifetime (or, potentially, death-time). Eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price, in one of his most delightful scene-chewing roles) is hosting a soirée in the titular house on haunted hill, which as its name suggests, is rumored to be a tuning fork for all manner of depravity and violent death. But with the promise of a sizeable chunk of change as a reward for spending one night in the macabre mansion, who could resist? 

As with "Escape Room," the inciting gambit of William Castle's 1959 masterpiece belies a sinister ulterior motive. It's a chilling and undeniably charming classic, and "Escape Room" owes a lot to "House on Haunted Hill." In other words, it's a must-watch for anyone who can't get enough of summoned strangers and good old-fashioned campy horror flicks.

The Exterminating Angel

Well, we bet you didn't expect to see a film from Spanish mastermind Luis Buñuel on this list, did ya? Well, even one of cinema's finest minds sees the entertainment value in the horror of needing to ... escape a room, as it were. Released in 1962, the film tells of a hoity-toity group of upper-crust friends who are invited to a fancy dinner party at a mansion, only to realize that they're unable to leave. Full of eerie comic absurdity and a ruthless critique of the foibles of the upper class, the pomp and circumstance begin to wear down as the days drag out, with the party ultimately descending into savage territory. Incisive, anxiety-riddled, and dripping with class warfare, "The Exterminating Angel" is a raw, deeply funny watch that remains relevant and incisive to this day.

Chosen Survivors

Look at that title, how could we pass up recommending this film? Whereas the players in "Escape Room" were chosen because they were the sole survivors of harrowing incidents, the group of this 1974 film are in the process of surviving. Plucked from their homes with no warning, each individuals is brought to a remote bomb shelter carved deep below the surface of an undisclosed desert. There, they learn the shocking reason behind their abduction: A world-ending nuclear war is taking place, and an algorithm has decreed that they are the ones who will persist to continue the human race once the dust has settled. Then, just when you're pretty sure the nightmare can't get any worse, their shelter is invaded by literally blood-hungry bats intent on kicking humanity while it's down. This is a bananas film with a devilish twist, and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to recommend it.

The Running Man

We're regularly reminded in "Escape Room" that the powers that be (whoever they are) are watching the proceedings with avid interest. The specifics of why they're watching are never fully fleshed out in this first film, though we're told by the overseer (Yorick van Wageningen) that the Minos Corporation wants to discover some larger truth about what humanity is capable of. Even so, it's not totally clear if that objective is scientific or if it leans more on the ... entertainment side of things. Enormous wealth also leads to enormous boredom, as it were. So maybe the fat cats behind Minos think of this as their version of "Survivor" or "Naked and Afraid." 

If you want to dig deeper into this overlap between reality shows and genre film, you can't go wrong with 1987's "The Running Man," an adaptation of Stephen King's dystopian thriller of the same name. Set in the far-flung future of 2017, where society has basically collapsed, the government supplies the unruly people with mass entertainment in the form of gladiatorial games where convicts engage in a deadly game of cops and robbers.


When you're watching "Escape Room," it's immediately obvious that director Adam Robitel and company have a notably meta spring in their step. Characters are patently self-aware and quick on the uptake of the deadly reality of their situation. One character in particular barely needs reminding to pull the trigger a second time, given horror villains' propensity for lurching back to life for one last scare. 

You can't dip your toe into meta-horror waters without paying respects to the film that popularized planting a post-modern tongue firmly in horror's cheek: Wes Craven's "Scream." The film turns a cookie-cutter slasher premise (deranged masked killer offing teens) into a wry meditation on the rules and patterns of horror movies themselves. As it becomes clearer and clearer that the murders are swirling around Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott, the young teen looks to her tragic past to untangle the stab-happy mess of her nightmarish present.


Of all the films on this list, "Cube" and "Escape Room" arguably have the most in common. So, if you enjoyed the premise of a group of strangers putting their heads together to wriggle their way out of rooms that want to kill them, you absolutely must check out this 1997 Canadian gem. 

The film follows a handful of people who wake up in a prison maze comprised of (you guessed it) cubes. As they navigate the structure and attempt to dodge the prison's deadly traps, the group begins to question why they've been brought together to suffer in this hellhole (well, hell "cube") in the first place. Stripped down and full of unpredictable obstacles, "Cube" is a great example of a character drama wrapped in a (literal) puzzle box format. If you're sifting through this list and you're not sure where to start, take it from us: "Cube" is a great place to start.

The Game

There's a good chunk of the first act of "Escape Room" where it's not entirely clear what's going on. Are these strangers truly engaged in a fatal death-trap scenario? Or is escape room aficionado Danny Khan (Nik Dodani) correct and the whole thing just feels super real and immersive? One wrinkle that complicates things is the fact that each of the players received their letter of invitation from someone they trust: a kind-hearted physics teacher, a relative, a mentor. And sure, whoever is behind this house of horrors could've pretended to be these loved ones. Or maybe, just maybe, the conspiracy runs deeper. 

While ultimately in "Escape Room" it turns out to be the former, David Fincher's "The Game" is a different story. The film follows Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), a cold-hearted banker who receives a gift certificate from his baby brother to participate in a ... special ... kind of game. Unaware of the ever-changing rules and progressively convinced that this little joke is rather deadly, Nicholas' reality begins to merge with the ever-present Game that lurks around every corner.

Battle Royale

In "Escape Room," it's finally revealed that the titular torture Olympics are the work of a shadowy organization curious to see what humanity is capable of. And while ostensibly this could involve teamwork, by the film's final rooms, it's abundantly clear that a key part of the escape room gauntlet is turning the players against one another. If you wished "Escape Room" was more of an all-out bloodbath from the jump, let us introduce you to Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 masterpiece "Battle Royale." The film is set in an alternative version of Japan where the government routinely rounds up 9th graders and forces them to duke it out to the death until one champion remains. Because what else says "politically sanctioned morale boost" quite like having a bunch of children murder one another? Bloody, brutal, and barbed with an unapologetic satirical edge, "Battle Royale" is a cult classic for a reason.

Final Destination

As "Escape Room" draws to a close, we learn that the common trait that unites the players is that they are all sole survivors of various tragedies. As the overseer later explains, they were selected to test the hypothesis that they are "luckier" than most when it comes to cheating death. What James Wong's "Final Destination" supposes is, what if the opposite is true? What if capital "D" Death isn't too thrilled about losing out on lives that evaded the inevitably coming for us all? Indeed, this is the premise laid plain in the first entry in the "Final Destination" franchise. After boarding a plane, a teen experiences a visceral vision of the aircraft's crash and leaves in a hurry along with a handful of his friends. When, sure enough, the plane crashes, the teens count themselves lucky. That is ... until Death begins to hunt them down one by one.

Panic Room

Well, well, well, if it isn't another nerve-rattling thriller from director David Fincher. Released in 2002, "Panic Room" is a must-watch entry in the tension-filled home-invasion subgenre, and it's just about as laser-focused as they come. The film follows a recently divorced single mom (Jodie Foster), who retreats to her titular panic room with her young daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stewart), when three assailants break into her house. Unfortunately for the terrified duo, the object of the burglars' search is inside the panic room, and they're determined to find a way in. Straight to the point, lean, and proficiently crafted, "Panic Room" is a nightmarish scenario that offers chills and thrills in equal measure. Don't let Jared Leto in cornrows scare you off, we promise, this one's a classic.


In more ways than one, "Escape Room" is effectively "Saw" for kids. This is, to be clear, not a bad thing. How else are we supposed to indoctrinate the next generation into falling head over heels over bear trap mask with one of the core franchises of modern horror? Indeed, the bird's eye premise of "Escape Room," — a group of strangers with mysterious pasts being forced to participate in deadly games — is the core principle of the "Saw" films. And nowhere is this thesis clearer or more pure than James Wan's original 2004 film, which sees a brilliant and blood-hungry serial killer forcing folks to make impossible choices in order to save their lives. The key difference (and it's a doozy) is that unlike the participants of "Escape Room" who have (mostly) done nothing wrong, the victim's of Jigsaw's gruesome machinations are morally suspect individuals who need to "learn" to not take their lives for granted. It's a key, macabre difference, and one that would make for a splendid double-bill.


If you're wondering what would happen if you put "The Belko Experiment" and "The Most Dangerous Game" in a blender, you would get 2006's "Severance." Let us explain. The film sees a team-building exercise go horribly wrong when the participants are forced to hike through woods inhabited by a homicidal maniac with a grudge against their company. Their quest to reach their destination is invariably cut short (severed, as it were) as their number begins to dwindle. Nasty and funny in all the right places, we'd like to think that this is the carnage that would result if the minds behind "Escape Room" summoned a group of players made up of pallid, catty office workers. What "Severance" lacks in an original premise, it more than makes up in good old-fashioned, gore-filled entertainment.

Funny Games

We have a couple of films on this list that fall into the "absolutely not for everyone" category. And Michael Haneke's English-language remake of his own film absolutely qualifies. 2007's "Funny Games" is a decidedly un-funny (but admittedly game-filled) nightmare about two psychotic young men who take a family hostage while they're on vacation. Forcing the family to participate in sadistic "games," with the promise that they will kill them the following day, the lads' charming grins are at odds with their increasingly wretched acts of depravity. Why are they doing this, you ask? Why, for the amusement of the viewer, of course. Not for the faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination, "Funny Games" is intended to be a viscerally unpleasant viewing experience, and on that point, it delivers. View at your own risk!

Murder Party

Inarguably the funniest entry from Jeremy Saulnier's remarkably tense directorial output, 2007's "Murder Party" follows a similar pattern to a number of films on this list. After receiving a random invite to an exclusive Halloween party, a dorky nobody named Christopher (Chris Sharp) arrives to find that he is, in fact, a victim. A self-aggrandizing artists' collective has summoned Christopher to his death, which will be their greatest artistic statement to date ... assuming they can stop squabbling. As the bamboozled Christopher attempts to squirm his way out of certain death, in-fighting within the wildly pretentious group leads to mishaps, mayhem, and more spilled blood than initially intended. If you were wondering what it would look like if "Escape Room" had the budget of the cost of a bag of chips and starred a group of morons instead of equally matched survivors and sinister overseers, you may want to RSVP (if you dare!) to "Murder Party."

Fermat's Room

If you want to watch a film similar to "Escape Room" and you don't mind subtitles (good for you!), then we recommend seeking out 2007's "Fermat's Room." Directed by Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopeña, the film sees four strangers, all of them mathematicians, invited by a mysterious host to attempt to solve an unsolvable enigma. As it turns out, the "enigma" in question is that if they don't figure out what they all have in common and why someone might want them all dead, they will be crushed to death by an ever-shrinking room. So, basically, imagine if that terrifying almost-final puzzle room that Ben (Logan Miller) finds himself in, where the walls literally close in on him, was a feature-length film — only with a lot fewer riddles and a lot more mathematics. 

Like many of the movies on this list, the puzzles and riddles are just the set-dressing for some pressure-cooked character study. So if you're a numbers person and wish the trash compactor scene from "Star Wars: A New Hope" was somehow nerdier, this is the film for you.


If "Escape Room" has you hankering for another morsel of confined horror, look no further than 2008's "Pontypool." This micro-budgeted Canadian gem takes place almost entirely within a small-town radio station, located in a basement in the wee hours of the morning. As charismatic but volatile radio host Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) lays on the charm and does his best to keep his producer relatively satisfied, something sinister is brewing outside — reports of an ultra-contagious virus that seems to be turning its poor victims into murderous, homicidal zombies. While Mazzy and a small handful of lone survivors within the station attempt to keep themselves alive and thwart the efforts of the ever-growing horde, it quickly becomes apparent that something extra strange is afoot with the spreading infection. It's up to this rag-tag group of audio engineers to solve the riddle of the virus before their fragile barricades give way.


Alright, now listen — despite being a horror film, "Escape Room" is, for all its genuine peril, pretty family-friendly. "Martyrs," the pillar of the stomach-churning subgenre known as French Extremity, is decidedly not something you want to show anyone without what we call in the business "an iron stomach." Again, we cannot stress this enough, "Martyrs" is not for the faint of heart. And that is, indeed, the entire point of Pascal Laugier's 2008 film. 

Without saying too much in case you haven't been scared away by all our warnings, "Martyrs" is keenly interested in probing the same territory as the final twist of "Escape Room." Namely, a shadowy organizations subjecting civilians to untold suffering in order to, as they see it, learn some fundamental truth about the human condition. While "Martyrs" takes this ghoulish conceit to some extremely depraved places, it remains an essential watch for any sadists out there who wished "Escape Room" had done more with that idea.


Look, exams and job-hunting are hard enough. Why throw even more psychological horror into the mix? Playing within the same tense space as "Escape Room" (especially the parts where group unity begins to come apart like a poorly constructed rope), 2009's "Exam" sees a group of hopeful job applicants locked in an exam room with a bafflingly simple task: Do not write on your piece of paper, do not ask questions, and do not leave the room. Naturally, chaos ensues, with each candidate overthinking the situation, the other candidates, and the company itself. A marvelous example of what you can do with an itty-bitty budget, "Exam" is surprisingly fast-paced, captivating, and, if you vibed with "Escape Room," absolutely worth a watch.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

One of your big takeaways after watching "Escape Room" was, surely, some variation of "holy smokes, how do I watch more films starring human teddy bear Tyler Labine?" Fear not, curious reader, we have you covered. If Labine's turn as the gentle-hearted Mike Nolan, sole survivor of a mine collapse, stole your heart, prepare for that charming dial to be turned up to 11 with the 2010 horror comedy "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil." 

Labine and Alan Tudyk co-star in this meta joke-filled splatter-fest as the titular evil-fighting buddies Tucker and Dale. The pair just want to renovate their fixer-upper lake home in peace, but mean-spirited city kids mistake their folksy ways for the roadside, backwater menace depicted in too, too many horror films. While the dynamic duo wouldn't hurt a fly, the teens' nasty habit of launching themselves into the jaws of death paints them into a stereotype-proving corner. It's up to the two pals to thwart the misunderstanding while keeping as many kids alive as possible.

The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard's intensely meta 2010 horror comedy sees a gaggle of college friends doing what oh-so-many horror youths have done before them — heading off into the wilderness for a restful weekend at a cabin in the woods. Surely nothing bad will happen. Surely

Well, as with "Escape Room," what starts off as a simple excursion twists into a fight for survival as a sinister organization does everything in its power to massacre these innocent civilians. While the purpose of the string-pulling organization in "The Cabin in the Woods" is to actively sacrifice their gaggle of would-be survivors, the shadowy organization behind "Escape Room" is (supposedly) just trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ultimate purpose be damned, there's plenty of connective tissue to be found between these two films, from a similarly puzzle box-like set-up to our heroine's resolve to use the organization's tools against itself.


One of the most effective parts of "Escape Room" is the way the film weaponizes impossible space. It's hard to believe that all of these immense places exist within one building. And the contrast as the players move from one room to the next is always a rug-pulling surprise, especially the transition from the broiling waiting room to the frigid lakeside cabin. 2013's "Snowpiercer" offers many of the same delights, only with the added twist of taking place entirely on a globe-trotting train ferrying what's left of humanity in a perpetual loop around the Earth. With the poor and destitute confined to the train's back carriages and the wealthy living the high life on the other end, the film follows a class conflict led by Chris Evans' Curtis, a born leader with a dark past who wants a better life for his community.


One of the most effective aspects of "Escape Room" is the early parts of the film in which the players aren't totally sure what is going on. Is this just a super realistic simulated experience, as Nik Dodani's Danny firmly believes? Why were these seemingly random individuals selected to participate in this seemingly punitive game? These questions are juicy, and the frantic process by which the pieces of the puzzle fall into place is absolutely the highlight of the film. 

Such is also the case with the unfairly critically maligned "Unfriended," one of the pinnacles of the desktop horror subgenre and one of the most interesting cinematic experiments of the 2010s. Framed entirely within a Skype call between a group of high schoolers, things take a turn for the confusing (and sinister) when the group receives a direct message from a classmate who killed themselves exactly one year prior. What follows is a devastating real-time reveal of what, exactly, is going on ... with plenty of blood spilled along the way.


If your favorite part of "Escape Room" was the players' panicked, stomach-sinking realization that their would-be weekend getaway is, in fact, a death trap, you might consider checking out 2015's "Circle." The film, co-directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione, follows the following premise: 50 strangers awaken in a big, black void, with no memory of how they got there. They are all facing inwards towards a large, alien device and quickly learn that if they move out of their circular position, the bizarre machine will kill them instantly. The group also learns, through a very macabre process of elimination, that the machine will randomly kill one of them at regular intervals ... but they can also vote for who the machine will kill. The question is ... how to vote? It's like if the FitnessGram PACER Test got in a car accident with "The Twilight Zone." If that sounds up your alley, we absolutely recommend checking this one out.

Green Room

We've made the argument throughout this list that torture puzzle boxes like "Escape Room" have a good deal in common with the home-invasion genre. That said, there's also a strong case to be made for another overlapping circle in this increasingly messy subgenre Venn diagram: the siege film. Siege films are exactly what they sound like — a group of people find themselves trapped and surrounded, inevitably having to take a calculated risk to make their escape. 2015's "Green Room," directed by Jeremy Saulnier, is possibly one of the best examples of what the subgenre has to offer. The film tells of some punk rockers who accept a gig at a secluded venue in the Pacific Northwest, only to discover that they're smack dab in the middle of a violent crime operation run by white supremacists. After the band witnesses the skinheads' crimes, they're put under lockdown in the titular green room, and they quickly realize that if they don't escape, they're probably going to be silenced ... for good.

Don't Breathe

The best part of "Escape Room" is right there in the film's title. As the hapless gang of escapees stumble and crawl from room to room, it's an absolute blast to discover each scenario's specific deadly puzzle, its fatal traps, and increasingly out-of-reach solutions. And, in its own way, 2016's "Don't Breathe" plays with a similar, albeit far more specific, premise. 

The film (helmed by "Evil Dead" director Fede Alvarez) follows a group of money-hungry teens who are pretty sure they've stumbled upon the perfect crime — robbing an isolated blind man (Stephen Lang) who inherited a sizeable chunk of change after his daughter was killed in a car accident. And while the man is indeed blind, the three thieves quickly finds out that their "easy mark" is in fact a seasoned war vet who's turned his house into a veritable death trap ... with a sinister purpose. And hey, look, when you're locked inside a murder house with a devious psycho, every room is an escape room.

10 Cloverfield Lane

While Dan Trachtenberg's 2016 sci-fi survival horror film lacks anything in the way of fun and games, its genetic link to "Escape Room" is abundantly clear. Waking up in an underground bunker after a roadside accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has one clear objective: Get out. Sure, the domineering Howard (John Goodman), the man who pulled her from the wreck, claims that outside is not safe. But his claims about the toxic environment outdoors strike her (and us) as the warped ramblings of a conspiracy nut. Then again ... what if he's telling the truth? Held against her will and overpowered by her physically imposing and mentally fragile captor, Michelle must use her quick wits, resourcefulness, and unfettered will to see what's on the outside for herself. Tersely paced and jaw-droppingly suspenseful, "10 Cloverfield Lane" is a spine-tingling follow up for anyone that enjoyed the thrills of "Escape Room."

The Belko Experiment

Directed by Greg McLean and written and co-produced by James Gunn, "The Belko Experiment" takes the familiar "gladiatorial torture games" premise and sets it in a truly hellish setting: a corporate office building. Locked inside their monotonous place of work and commanded by a mysterious voice to participate in a deadly game, the employees find their tedious day becoming a true horror tale. As the intercom booms, they must kill two people within 30 minutes, or there will be consequences. What begins as a potential terrorist threat spirals into a full-blown nightmare as office politics spiral out of control into an all-out bloodbath. A dark comedy black as pitch, "The Belko Experiment" dispenses with the team-building "help-your-fellow-man" shenanigans in favor of all-out chaos. If a 2-hour montage of murder and copious bloodletting sounds like your jam, the fine maniacs at the Belko Corporation have you covered.


We have a couple of films on this list that careen out of the "strangers in a torture room" space into the hallowed grounds of home-invasion horror. And it's true that these two subgenres are sort of polar opposites. Films like "Escape Room" drum up fear from the new and strange while home invasion-films bring horror into a supposedly safe space. And yet, their family resemblance is undeniable — the confined space, the problem-solving, the endurance under pressure. So while we're recommending excellent home-invasion films with a puzzle-like twist, we'd be remiss not to point you in the direction of Mike Flanagan's 2016 film "Hush." In the movie, a deaf-mute novelist named Maddie (Kate Siegel) is menaced by a masked, cross-bow-wielding killer who seems to have every advantage. Unable to hear her killer or call for help, Maddie must make use of her resourceful edge to overcome her would-be murderer.

Happy Death Day

If you're looking for a horror film that feels like a Rubik's Cube but errs on the more comedic side of things, consider booting up 2017's "Happy Death Day." The film, much like "Groundhog Day" before it, effectively tasks its less-than-saintly protagonist with figuring out why, exactly, they're trapped in a time loop. Only, college student Tree (Jessica Rothe) isn't just whittling away day after day learning how to play the piano and carve ice sculptures. No, her time loop is a lot deadlier. Pursued by a masked killer hellbent on putting an end to Tree's many, many lives, it's up to the spunky sorority girl to figure out why she's being stalked and who is under that sinister baby mask. You wouldn't think being horribly murdered over and over again would be this fun, and yet "Happy Death Day" is a straight-up hoot grounded by top-shelf character work.

Game Night

If you're a fan of the way "Escape Room" blends the macabre with amusing diversions, we whole-heartedly suggest you add 2018's "Game Night" to your watchlist. The film follows Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), a suburban couple whose relatively by-the-book game night is launched into chaos when Max's brother (Kyle Chandler) signs their group up for an immersive murder mystery. It all feels so real! And, as the gang quickly discover, that's because it just might be. As the wild night unfolds, the players struggle to untangle whether the game is just harmless fun or if they're in very real peril. It's always a treat when a mainstream studio comedy manages to be witty and dark without treading into overbearing waters. A hilarious ensemble piece with more twists than a pretzel, "Game Night" is a surprising and energetic delight.

The Platform

When we're first introduced to the building that houses the titular escape room, its architecture feels impossible — brutalist concrete with untold nightmares inside, from frozen lakes to upside-down pool halls. 2019's "The Platform" ratchets this unease sky-high. The feature film debut of Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia takes place in a mysterious, physics-defying tower. Unlike "Escape Room," those held within this vertical hellhole are prisoners, inmates who've submitted themselves to this architectural abomination in the hopes of reaching absolution. With each floor housing two cellmates, those located on the upper cells gorge themselves on a veritable feast, laid bare on the titular platform. As the food travels downward, viable meals grow scarce, with the those below starving as even bones are cracked upon and sucked dry. While the recurring randomization — prisoners are regularly moved to new floors without any knowledge of where they'll end up — promises a degree of fairness, our protagonist (Ivan Massagué) rejects the system when he discovers that the prison houses a child.

The Hunt

Released in 2020, "The Hunt" takes a bloody page from the all-time humans-hunting-humans classic, "The Most Dangerous Game." Directed by Craig Zobel (whose previous film, "Compliance," may also intrigue "Escape Room" fans), "The Hunt" sees roughly a dozen strangers waking up in a field, gags in their mouths, and no idea how they got there. Soon enough, the "why is this happening" becomes a lot less important than the "don't die" of it all, as it's quickly revealed that someone is trying very hard to kill them. The film drummed up controversy for it's "Big Reveal" (namely, that in this dangerous game, the hunted and the hunters come from different sides of the political extreme), but if you're down to approach this one with a level head, you'll be greeted by an incredible performance from the indomitable Betty Gilpin, as well as the unflappable right to make up your own mind for yourself.