Director Alex Merkin is bringing his style to SyFy’s annual 31 Days of Halloween block with No Escape Room. The filmmaker knows how to construct a good thriller and those talents are put to use in this ghostly puzzler.
“I think it feels different from the more classic horror films you usually see this time of year,” Merkin told iHorror. “Its kind of a Psychological Horror film if that makes sense.”
He directed last year’s House of the Witch which also played with this idea, but with a supernatural touch.
As in Witch, Merkin sets the action inside a house where once again he delves into history and lore.
“We wanted to play with the idea that this house where the escape room was set up has a unique history to it – built and designed around the turn of the century by a man obsessed with the idea of bridging our world with the one beyond.”
For those who don’t know, escape rooms are a current trend in cultural entertainment where groups of people pay to be locked in a room and given clues to find a way out before time is up.
In his film, he says the house in which it’s set is an elaborate device itself; a “piece of clockwork filled with a macabre collection of devices, artifacts, and relics that have been used throughout the centuries to contact the dead.”
Merkin joins House of the Witch writer Neil Elman to bring to life this tale of mystery. And they’ve done their research. The story introduces its characters to cultural techniques used to contact the dead from psychotropic plants to old radios that may be a direct link to the things on other side.
“Everything inside seems intended to boost or amplify the spiritual connection,” says Merkin.
But this revelation is initially lost on the team of friends who have entered the mansion until they begin to realize they might be being plied with puzzles to set something else free.
“As they solve the house’s puzzles, moving deeper and deeper inside,” explains Merkin, “they could be unlocking more than just the next room: they could be turning the clockwork that slowly opens the door to the world beyond, unleashing something terrible that’s waiting to get through.”
No Escape Room is a part of SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween.
It premieres on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 pm ET on SyFy Channel.