Escape Room finale explained: how did Zoey survive?

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This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in Adam Robitel’s 2019 movie Escape Room, revealing its meaning and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.

Escape Room is a 2019 horror film that has been particularly successful, such that it prompted the director to make a sequel two years later, entitled Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. The first film is a typical claustrophobic horror film that keeps viewers glued to the screen, a survival game that follows several other classics of the horror genre and beyond: some have seen echoes of Saw, Cube, The Game or Hostel in the film.

Some parts of the film are intentionally confusing. This article intends to explain the plot and the ending of the film in a way that leaves no doubts.

The explanation of the plot

A series of characters, that we discover at the beginning of the film, receives a strange invitation in the form of a puzzle-black box. The invitation is for a prestigious escape room, which offers $10,000 to the winners. Seven show up in the waiting room of a large building. But we will soon discover that it is more than just a game: the puzzles that follow endanger the lives of the participants and there is no way to quit the game. The seven players are forced to solve puzzles simply to avoid dying under the threats of the game itself.

During the film we also discover that the rooms, the details of the puzzles presented to the players, suggest that whoever created the game knows the participants very well. It therefore seems like a carefully engineered game just for them. During the film it is not clear who wanted to do something like this, and for what reason, but the players are too busy trying to save their lives by solving the puzzles and the issue goes on the background.

During the game some of the participants lose their lives. In the second last room, Zoey suspects that someone was watching them and that for this reason there would be no real victory for any of them in the game, so she decides not to proceed and destroy the cameras in that room. In this way she will survive the poison in the air, using an oxygen mask while nobody sees her, and she will be able to get out of the room when the organizers of the game come in to clean the room.

Meanwhile, Ben makes it past the last room and wins the game. Thus he meets the Gamemaster, who explains to him what that game really consists of: a form of entertainment for very rich people, who love to observe human beings fighting for survival, a bit like in the past the public watched the gladiators fight for their survival (or, to use a comparison closer to the film, like the labyrinth in which Minos locked up the minotaur and in which a group of Greeks were sacrificed every year – Minos is the company that builds the escape rooms of the movie). As the Gamemaster explains, customers want more and more difficult tests and more and more particular groups of participants. That edition was dedicated to the “survivors”: all the participants had in common being alive after serious accidents in which all the others died.

Who survives the escape room? And how does the film end?

In the film’s finale, the Gamemaster attempts to kill Ben. There is no prize for survivors, as the game is designed simply to entertain customers who request it. Zoey breaks into the room, kills the Gamemaster and escapes the room with Ben.

The next day, investigators inspect the place where the group played, discovering that in fact every clue has been removed. Zoey is there and she looks at what looks like an abandoned building that no one has set foot in for a long time. But she sees on the wall the letters of “Wootan Yu”, a name that recurs during the film/game, which is also the anagram of “No Way Out”. The threat therefore is that the game does not provide a form of victory for those who participate.

Zoey and Ben’s life goes on and we find them six months later. Ben tries to move on, while Zoey does not rest and she doesn’t accept that the real organizers of that game go unpunished and continue to create traps in which other people will die (the Gamemaster was just an employee of the organization). From the analysis of the elements in her possession, she obtains the coordinates of what she thinks is Minos’ headquarters and convinces Zoey to go there by plane.

In the very last scene of the film, we witness a complicated escape room staged inside a crashing plane. We discover that it is a simulation, always engineered by Minos, and that will be applied to the flight that Zoey and Ben have booked. The Puzzle Maker isn’t done with them yet. And the new game he will submit to them will have a 4% chance of survival.

This is how Escape Room ends. Leaving open the possibility that the story of Zoey and Ben could continue (as it will, in fact, in the sequel) and implying that now for Zoey it is a personal matter: she is not afraid to get back in touch with the designers of the escape rooms, and therefore poses a threat to them. The plot could thus evolve in many possible ways.