May 7, 2022
by Carla Hay
Directed by Emerson Moore
Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed U.S. location, the horror film “Escape the Field” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with one Asian person and one black person) representing the middle-class and working-class.
Culture Clash: Six strangers find themselves trapped in a mysterious corn field, where a sinister attacker awaits.
Culture Audience: “Escape the Field” will appeal mainly to people who don’t mind watching nonsensical and tedious horror movies.
“Escape the Field” is a woefully incompetent ripoff of the “Escape Room” movies, but it’s set in a corn field instead of an escape room. “Escape the Field” wastes this “stuck in a maze” concept on a stupid series of events, gibberish dialogue, and an abrupt conclusion that leaves many questions unanswered. And the movie’s monster has a laughably bad costume design.
Directed by Emerson Moore, “Escape the Field” is just a series of scenes with people walking and sometimes running around a corn field and trying unsuccessfully to leave. The monster (played by Dillon Jagersky) doesn’t appear until the last third of the film. And when the creature appears, viewers might have a hard time taking this monster seriously, because it literally looks like someone who’s stuck in a makeshift Halloween costume with some tattered plant leaves to cover most of the facial area. “Escape the Field” has the expected bloody gore, but it’s not very scary.
“Escape the Field” director Moore co-wrote the movie’s screenplay with Sean Wathen and Joshua Dobkin. They use a template copied from the “Escape Room” movies: Six strangers from different backgrounds find themselves trapped in a remote area and have to solve a series of puzzles to try to escape. The “Escape Room” movies are shallow horror stories, but at least they have more innovation in the puzzle solving than the silly tripe of “Escape the Field.”
The six strangers who find themselves stuck in the movie’s dead-end corn field are:
- Sam (played by Jordan Claire Robbins), a workaholic doctor, who wakes up in the field wearing her hospital scrubs and with a gun and a single bullet next to her.
- Tyler (played by Theo Rossi), a “nice guy” divorced father, who appears in the field carrying matches.
- Ryan (played by Shane West), an ill-tempered military war veteran, who appears in the field carrying a lantern.
- Denise (played by Elena Juacto), a standoffish smart aleck, who appears in the field carrying a knife.
- Ethan (played by Julian Feder), a meek teenager in a prep-school uniform, who appears in the field carrying a compass.
- Cameron (played by Tahirah Sharif), an outspoken computer coder, who at first tells everyone that she doesn’t have anything with her, but she secretly does have an item in her possession.
These six strangers do not know how they ended up in this corn field, but they all say that they remember hearing a siren before waking up in the field, which is located somewhere in the United States. The people in the corn field see a crash-test dummy dressed up as a scarecrow, which serves an obvious purpose. However, these dimwits don’t inspect this “scarecrow” until much later than they should have.
Don’t expect to find out much about these characters except a few basic facts. Tyler (whose occupation is never stated) mentions that he has a 7-year-old daughter named Sedona McKenzie. Ryan, who is a rage-aholic, briefly shows a vulnerable side when he confesses that he feels guilty over losing an entire squad who died in war combat.
Ethan, who’s a student at a boarding school, apparently has “daddy issues,” because he says his inattentive widower father just “leaves me at school to rot.” Denise, who works for the Pentagon, tells everyone that she thinks this corn field maze is some kind of government experiment. Denise is also wearing nothing but lingerie underneath an oversized shirt because she says she was planning a romantic night in bed with her boyfriend when she was suddenly transported to this corn field.
Cameron is a Brit who identifies as a queer woman or lesbian, because she mentions that she’s in a romantic relationship with a woman. Ryan is immediately hostile to Cameron because he thinks there’s something suspicious about why she didn’t wake up in the field with an object, like the other people in the group. All of the objects have the same mysterious symbol. Ryan continues to bully Cameron throughout the movie.
“Escape the Field” has some problematic racial overtones in how these characters are written and portrayed. Denise and Cameron—the only people in the movie who aren’t white—are depicted as difficult complainers. Cameron in particular is branded as the group “outsider” who is treated as if she shouldn’t be trusted. Meanwhile, overly aggressive Ryan is portrayed with a tone of being a war hero, to justify all the awful things he does in the movie. A mid-credits scene just fuels this movie’s unspoken racial animosity.
Predictably, Sam and Tyler are the movie’s two potential love interests. Out of all of the people in the group, Sam and Tyler spend the most time together and end up becoming the closest to each other. “Escape the Field” director Moore has a cameo role as a businessman who appears briefly in the corn field and then disappears. It’s a vanity cameo appearance, because it has no real bearing on the plot. The acting in this movie ranges from mediocre to irritatingly terrible, with Robbins giving the worst and stiffest acting performance out of all of the movie’s cast members.
Don’t expect any meaningful dialogue in “Escape the Field.” It’s an extremely dull and repetitive exposition dump, with no character development or anything really terrifying. The movie’s direction and editing are sloppy. The haphazard puzzles make no sense, and the reason why these people ended up in the field is never explained. The only thing worse than being stuck in this moronic maze is being stuck watching “Escape the Field” until its very ludicrous and pathetic end.
Lionsgate released “Escape the Field” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on May 6, 2022. The movie’s release on Blu-ray and DVD is set for June 21, 2022.