I went into watching Lionsgate's Escape the Field (2022) with an open mind, although it's hard to do so when the film feels like an unoriginal combination of In The Tall Grass meets The Hunt. The film is in select theaters, on digital, and on-demand on May 6, 2022. The concept was interesting and could have been a unique take on the innate fears of the unknown and loss of control in a setting like an expansive cornfield.
"The fear is inescapable and the suspense nonstop in this gripping horror-thriller about six strangers who suddenly awaken in a remote, endless cornfield. Stripped of their possessions, they are left with only six items: 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 it's been plunged into a cat-and-mouse game with an unseen evil, and survival depends upon solving a diabolical — and deadly — puzzle."
Escape the Field gave it some effort at the beginning of the film, including a great opening shot and a moment of silent fear from the first character we meet, Sam (Jordan Claire Robbins). Others in the film include Theo Rossi, Tahirah Sharif, Julian Feder, Elena Juatco, and Shane West. Cornfields aren't anything new to horror films, so why in the world use that as your setting if you only end up combining original films' themes in the plot? Well, I'm asking myself that after watching this film, I have some ideas but nothing of clarity. I love any and every horror film; I'll appreciate even the cringe-inducing ones, but when I feel my time has been wasted, I'm not very lenient.
The characters of Escape the Field go in and out of their own definitions and between stereotypes with some acting and dialogue akin to a hallmark Christmas movie-level cringe. Connections are set up only for there to never receive any clear explanations to them. So many holes in the plot I feel like I'm playing whack-a-mole with characters coming in and out of scenes without warning or acknowledgment. The score and sound effects in the film were possibly the only solaces. The audio combined some eerie mechanical high-pitch echoes with deep tones during the alarms, similar to a tornado warning.
It couldn't be saved by the unique score and minimal amount of cool shots managing to make it into the film. A film that continued to test my ability to pay attention and not doze off, Escape the Field was something I barely finished watching as if I were on a marathon begging for the end to be in sight. The only sources of aid, like water bottles and a nice breeze in a marathon, were sound and some camera direction. The acting, dialogue, and messy plot only made the film what it ended up being, which is a stagnate yet chaotic mess.