May 15, 2017

Why Escape Rooms are Commonly Misconstrued as the Horror Franchise, Saw

Why Escape Rooms are Commonly Misconstrued as the Horror Franchise, Saw

“He doesn’t want us to cut through our chains. He wants us to cut through our feet.”

The doctor, in severe desperation, takes the jagged, ironic tool and begins to dismember himself, cringing in excruciating pain. The mere thought of salvation – the thought of getting out of that murky, rundown bathroom was the only thing keeping him going.


Although he had to literally fork over a piece of his flesh, at long last, the doctor had succeeded. He “won” the game.

By now, most people have probably heard of the gruesome movie franchise, Saw, and the gripping impact it had on the horror genre. I remember watching the first film and thinking how dark, twisted, and completely insane it was. Seemed like such an extreme for someone to go through to learn an important life lesson, but that’s beside the point. The Saw franchise revolutionized the horror genre and its overwhelming success spawned a total of six sequels (seven if we count the one due this October), countless Halloween attractions, and even its very own theme park ride.

One of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard while working in the escape room industry (dating back to my early days of hosting groups up to my current position as a public relations and sales coordinator) is how it’s practically become synonymous with the concept behind Saw, so I thought I’d set the record straight.

Now, I can understand where people are coming from: you’re “locked” in a room, presented with some crazy predicament, and tasked with solving a “puzzle” in order to “escape.”

Sounds familiar, right?

In Saw, Dr. Gordon and Adam are locked in an old, decrepit bathroom and must play a tortuous “game” to escape with their lives. So yes, “escape the rooms” follow the same general formula; however, there are many key differences.

First of all, escape rooms are not games of life or death, literally. I feel that certain groups of people are turned off by the idea of escape rooms because they associate them with the Saw franchise. It’s like one second their curiosity is piqued and then the next, they want to drop the conversation as soon as we mention they’re locked in a room and only have one hour to escape. Secondly, most escape rooms are non-horror themed. This allows kids to fully enjoy the experience as well without the fear of any scary or controversial material to affect them. We don’t want to exclude kids from experiencing this live, immersive activity because it helps foster critical thinking and problem-solving, skills needed to excel in school and in the real world. Finally, escape the rooms are pleasantly fun and exciting (even horror-themed ones) compared to what is depicted in the Saw films. Undeniably, people get stoked and pumped to successfully complete whatever challenge they are presented within the allotted time. Shows like The Big Bang Theory have even expressed their humorous thoughts on the subject.

While the misconception with the Saw franchise is hilarious, I thought it best to come clean and tell the truth – yes, these escape the rooms may have horror elements, but the experience is so much more than that. It is riveting, suspenseful, and ultimately an enjoyable adventure that continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Just remember to do some research when picking out an appropriate theme for kids.

Bottom line: give it a try before running with flailing arms in the opposite direction.


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