20 Suspenseful Movies Like Escape Room
Escape Room (not to be mistaken for the terrible Skeet Ulrich movie of the same name) is a great modern thriller about six strangers who solve a puzzle and are invited to participate in an escape room with a prize of $10,000. The only thing is this escape room is designed to kill the contestants if they can’t get out in time. The six must band together and use all their skills and knowledge in an attempt to make it through each of the deadly mystery rooms and escape.
Although it wasn’t greatly received when released, Escape Room was a box office smash and even spawned a sequel, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. Director Adam Robitel stages some great set pieces and the cast, which includes Taylor Russell, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Logan Miller, and Deborah Ann Woll, is fantastic. If you’ve seen either movie and want to watch more movies like Escape Room, then you’ve come to the right place.
This list is packed with thrilling movies about groups of people who find themselves needing to band together to survive. Some take place in rooms or houses, while others focus on people fighting an enemy intent on hunting them down. What they all have in common is people trapped in an area and the excitement and fear you get while watching.
20 Suspenseful Movies Like Escape Room
1. Cube (1997)
Five strangers wake up to find themselves trapped in a cube made up of identical rooms. Some are empty while others contain Bobbie traps. As paranoia and tension mount, the five must try and find the exit before it’s too late.
This Canadian independent movie has a cult following thanks to its creepy atmosphere and inventive kills. Cube won Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival and has spawned a sequel and a prequel, although neither lives up to the terror of the original. There’s also a Japanese remake and a reported reboot on the way.
2. No Escape (2020)
This film is very similar to Escape Room in that it is set in an escape room. Also known as Follow Me, the movie focuses on social media influencer Cole Turner, who, with a group of friends, heads to Russia to take part in an exclusive escape room. As you can guess, things don’t go as planned and Cole and his buddies end up in a fight for survival.
Forgot the IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes reviews; No Escape has enough cheap thrills to give you a few frights and makes for enjoyable viewing. Also, make sure you don’t confuse it with Owen Wilson and Sandara Bullock movie of the same name. That’s a very different movie altogether.
3. Saw (2004)
James Wan and Leigh Whannell set the template for a whole new type of gory horror with their low-budget masterpiece Saw. Two men, photographer Adam Stanheight (Whannell) and oncologist Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) wake up chained in a basement with a dead body. Each has a tape recording in their pockets, Stanheight’s telling him to do whatever he must to survive, and Gordon’s telling him to kill Stanheight or his family will die.
The next 103 minutes unfold at a breakneck pace as it is revealed that the killer known as Jigsaw is behind everything. He is a sadistic murderer who tortures his victims with traps, giving them the opportunity to live but at a great cost.
Saw revolutionized the horror genre and resulted in dozens of blood-drenched ripoffs. So far there have been seven sequels and a spin-off, with another movie in the works.
4. The Running Man (1987)
Based on a short story by Stephen King, this 80s sci-fi actioner stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a wrongly accused prisoner forced to compete in the game show, The Running Man. He and several others are hunted for sport, with the show televised to millions around the world.
The Running Man loses much of the social commentary of King’s story but is the perfect vehicle for Arnie to spew oneliners and let his muscles do the talking. The addition of Richard Dawson as the slimy game show host Damon Killian is a masterstroke.
5. The Killing Room (2009)
A group of strangers (starting to become a familiar scenario) sign up for a psychological experiment and find themselves being subjected to physical and emotional torture as they try and find a way to escape.
Most of the action takes place in a single room, with The Killing Room a very atmospheric thriller. The cast is also exceptional and full of actors you’ll recognize but might not remember their names, such as Peter Stormare, Shea Whigham, and Clea DuVall.
6. The Hunger Games (2012)
The first film in a series of four, The Hunger Games is based on a series of young adult fiction novels of the same name. In a dystopian future, the nation of Panem is divided into 12 quarters ruled by the Capitol. Every year each nation must select a young boy and girl to fight to the death until there is only one left.
Packed with plenty of action and surprisingly emotional scenes, The Hunger Games also has a stacked cast of attractive and talented newcomers, with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson joined by established favorites Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Toby Jones.
7. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
An eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, offers a $10,000 prize if five strangers can spend a night in his supposedly hunted home. As the night wears on, it appears that not only is Loren’s home haunted, but he may be involved in what’s going on.
Considered a horror classic by film critics, it’s no surprise House on Haunted Hill has been remade, with the 1999 version really not worth your time, unless you like bad horror. There’s even a sequel to that movie, Return to House on Haunted Hill, which is somehow even worse. Best bet is to stick with the original.
8. Battle Royale (2000)
A group of Japanese students is kidnapped by their totalitarian government and forced to participate in a fight to the death. The game will only end when all but one student remains, with each player also wearing an explosive collar that will be set off if they stray from the designated playing field.
Having read that description it’s probably not hard to believe Battle Roayle sparked controversy when released in 2000. It was banned by several countries despite receiving fantastic reviews, with Quentin Tarantino a big fan. As is often the case with these types of films that become surprise hits, a sequel was commissioned, Battle Royale II: Requiem, but it fails to live up to expectations.
9. Countdown (2019)
If there was an app that could tell you when you were going to die, would you download it? That’s exactly what nurse Quinn Harris does in the horror thriller Countdown. Harris discovers she has just two days to live and must use all her wits and cunning to save herself from death.
Merging Final Destination with Happy Death Day, this movie from STX Entertainment is a lot of fun with plenty of good scares and violent action. It’s also a good lesson for why spending too much time on your phone is a bad idea.
10. The Hunt (2020)
Described as a satire about the political divide between America’s left-wing and right-wing supporters, The Hunt is a much better movie than critics say. While the political threads might be so-so, the action that unfolds is great and Betty Gilpin is fantastic as one of several Americans being hunted for their right-wing sentiments.
The Hunt almost didn’t get released, pulled days before it was set to hit cinemas. Despite the controversy, it’s a solid action movie that makes a great double bill with the aforementioned The Running Man.
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11. The Game (1997)
This underrated David Fincher thriller stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn as brothers. Douglas is rich, successful, and has everything he needs, so for his birthday, Penn gives him a voucher for a mysterious company, Consumer Recreation Services, that promises to change his life. Douglas, intrigued, cashes in the voucher and soon finds his life under threat from unknown assailants as his identity is wiped.
Although not set entirely in one room, The Game does feature Douglas trying to escape from rooms, so we think that is a good enough reason to put it on this list. It’s also a wild ride with Douglas in career-best form as he struggles to work out what is happening before it’s too late.
12. The Purge (2013)
Welcome to the new America where civilians are allowed to murder, rape, and pillage for one night of the year. As the annual Purge commences, the child of a wealthy family lets an injured stranger into their home. When those responsible for hurting him arrive and want him released, all hell breaks loose.
The Purge is a great “trapped in a house” movie with a fine cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Lena Heady, and Edwin Hodge. While the sequels vary in quality (the two with Frank Grillo are great), the TV show is well worth checking out.
13. #Horror (2015)
When a social media game gets out of hand, a group of wealthy 7th graders finds themselves getting taken out one by one. #Horror doesn’t add anything new to the genre, but there’s enough going on to keep you entertained. The ensemble cast is also great, with Chloë Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Natasha Lyonne, Balthazar Getty, and Taryn Manning all in top form.
It won’t make your “best horrors of all time” list, but #Horror still has some interesting ideas and plenty of good jump scares. Plus, when talking about movies like Escape Room, this film has a very similar vibe.
14. Don’t Breathe (2016)
Three delinquents decided to break into the home of a blind veteran, only to find themselves struggling to survive when he fights back. But there’s something about Gulf War veteran Norman Nordstrom that’s just not right, as the trio soon discovers.
Coming from the mind of Fede Álvarez, who got his big break directing the Evil Dead remake, this is a chilling horror with lots of violence and a star turn from Stephen Lang as the blind veteran. You will never look at a turkey baster the same after watching this horror movie.
15. The Belko Experiment (2016)
Directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek) and written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Belko Experiment is a fun horror set inside an office building. 80 workers for the Belko company soon find out that they are actually part of an experiment whereby they must kill each other until only one survives.
Chaos and mayhem ensue as some revel in the killing while others try their best to escape from the building without murdering anyone. This one has a great ensemble cast too, with Micheal Rooker, Tony Goldwyn, Melonie Diaz, John C. McGinley, and Adria Arjona all fantastic.
16. Devil (2010)
Based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil revolves around five strangers stuck in a lift. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize Lucifer is also hanging out in the elevator. As the emergency services try and free them, the group is picked off one by one as the police watch on.
This is a decent little thriller with enough jump scares and twists to keep you watching until the expected climax. Shyamalan also appears in this film and you quickly understand why he stuck to directing and not acting.
17. Circle (2015)
50 people wake up to find themselves standing in two circles surrounding a black dome. Every two minutes one of them dies. If they try and leave their position they also die. As people begin being taken out, those remaining discover they have the ability to choose who dies next. This is where things get heated as two factions form, those who want to save the women and children and those who think no life is worth more than any other.
Circle asks lots of questions about people’s morals and ethics and will certainly have you speaking about what you would do in that situation with your friends after watching. Although the cast is pretty much made up of no-names, everyone is solid and puts in a good performance.
18. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
There was no need for a Cloverfield sequel, but when it finally hit cinemas, it turned out to be much better than people imagined. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is involved in a car crash and wakes up in a bunker with two men, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr., who tell her the world as we know it is no more. As the three co-exist, Winstead begins to doubt Goodman’s story and begins to plan her escape.
Totally abandoning the found footage direction of the original, 10 Cloverfield Lane works as a stand-alone film in the Cloverfield universe. You’re never quite sure who to believe until the thrilling climax sets the record straight.
19. Unfriended (2014)
Unfriended makes the record books for being the first movie to ever set entirely on a computer screen. A group of high school students has a Skype chat when they discover that a bullied student who committed suicide, Laura Barns, has hijacked the conversation from beyond the grave.
While the premise is slightly ludicrous, it does make for an interesting take on the horror genre as the friends attempt to stop the evil spirit before they themselves are killed. There’s an unrelated 2018 sequel, Unfriended: Dark Web, which is only worth watching if you really love this one.
20. Creep (2014)
Not to be confused with the 1997 horror set in the London Underground (which is actually worth a watch also), Creep is a demented found footage movie from the mind of Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass. Brice and Duplass are also the stars, with Brice answering a Craiglist advert to record some footage for eccentric client Duplass.
It turns out Duplass is not just eccentric but slightly mad, and possibly a murderer. As Brice tries his best to escape from Duplass’ home, things start to get really weird, with the shocking ending sure to leave you disturbed. There’s a real sense of dread you get watching this movie, with the tension building right until the credits roll.
Unlike so many original horrors that get poor sequels, Creep 2 is arguably as good as Creep. Hopefully, the long-rumored third film finally gets made.
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