Sometimes, to truly understand what’s after you…you’ve got to go down to get out…
While it borrows from some familiar beats in films that have come before it; Escape The Field is an intense, stripped down ride of a movie that will keep you on edge and always asking questions from beginning to end.
When six strangers suddenly awaken in a remote and endless cornfield, confusion is the least of their worries. Stripped of all possessions, they are left with only six items between them; a gun with a single bullet, matches, a lantern, a knife, a compass and a flask of water. As mysterious sirens blare in the distance and traps appear at every turn, the group realizes that it’s been plunged into a cat and mouse game with an unseen evil and survival depends upon solving a puzzle that is both diabolical…and deadly.
Admittedly, Escape The Field tries a little too hard at times to be ambiguous in where it wants to go, but it all makes for a fun ride that we easily buy into from minute one.
In his debut feature effort, Co-writer and director Emerson Moore lays down just enough framework for a movie that is much more about the journey then it is the destination. In the best way possible this film is all about asking more questions than actually giving us enough answers.
Shot in a corn field outside of Toronto, there’s genuine tension in the simple scenario that Moore lays out and he takes us on that ride from the get go with very little let up. The design is good and it all has a frenetic pace about it, and while we could have done with a little more time to get to know and get invested in our protagonists, the action is well staged enough as we are immediately roped into the why and the where these people are.
Even with the mostly underdeveloped characters we do get a few standouts here as Jordan Claire Robbins slides into the role of bad ass genre female lead pretty well. Of course it’s not something she searches out but as the stakes get higher and higher she is thrust into the role of trying to figure out what the hell is going on in this mysterious and seemingly never ending corn field. Theo Rossi is solid opposite her as they navigate each challenge, slowly separating themselves from the group, while Shane West as the reluctant ex-military man who is at war with the madness of the situation of what this environment is doing to him.
Picture and sound quality are first rate, with really good use of sound design on the 5.1. DTS track to help establish the mood. There’s also a feature length commentary track from Emerson Moore and his co-writers Joshua Dobkin and Sean Wathen which does provide a little insight to the story along with the ‘Pieces of the Puzzle’ making of featurette which goes a little longer and with a little more detail than the standard EPK stuff that you tend to see.
At the end of the day, Escape The Field isn’t going to be confused as high art but it does all the correct things to get us engaged with the ride it’s going to take us on….right to the point that you’ll hope that the sequel which gets teased at the end of the film might actually end up happening.