In fourteenth century Norway, 19-year-old Signe, her younger brother, and her parents travel through lands made dangerous by the lawlessness following the Black Death. Bandits led by Dagmar kill her entire family; Dagmar herself murders Signe's brother as she watches helplessly. Before the bandits can kill Signe, Dagmar stops them and orders them to take her prisoner. At their camp, Signe meets Frigg, a young girl that Dagmar has adopted. When Frigg shows kindness to Signe, Dagmar chastises her and says that Signe deserves no compassion, as her people have driven them to banditry.
Arvid, Dagmar's lover, stops Loke from raping Signe. As the others watch Arvid and Loke fight, Signe strains to recover Loke's dropped knife. Frigg notices and alerts Dagmar, who tasks Frigg with Signe's punishment, cutting off a finger. When Signe calls Dagmar a witch, Dagmar gloats that she will soon allow the men to rape Signe, as she wants Frigg to have a younger sister. Instead of cutting off Signe's finger, Frigg frees her. As the others sleep, the two girls sneak out of the camp. The bandits wake and give chase, though Signe and Frigg evade them in the nearby forest.
One bandit dies when Signe destroys a log bridge as he attempts to cross it. Dagmar stops them from killing Signe, and the girls escape as the bandits search for another crossing point. Loke finds them at an outcrop, and Signe kills him as he again attempts to rape her. When the bandits find Loke's body, Dagmar tells them to spare Frigg's life but allows them to do what they wish to Signe. Meanwhile, the girls find a hunter's cabin, and, assuming it abandoned, camp there overnight. The hunter is surprised to find them there when he returns, but he feeds them and teaches Signe how to kill a bear with a spear.
When he learns that they're fleeing Dagmar's bandit group, he tells them that Dagmar was subjected to ordeal by water after her village was hit by the plague. Both of Dagmar's children died, and she barely escaped with her life. When Dagmar shows up at the cabin, the hunter attempts to reason with her, but she becomes enraged when Arvid suggests they allow Signe and Frigg to escape. While Dagmar kills both Arvid and the hunter, the girls escape through the rear. Dagmar and the two remaining bandits corner the girls at a cliff. Dagmar promises to allow Signe to live if Frigg surrenders. Signe, knowing that Dagmar will not keep her word, jumps off the cliff just as Dagmar signals a bandit to kill her.
Signe survives her fall, and, after dreaming of her murdered family, buries the hunter. After retrieving his spear, she goads one of the hunters into chasing her and uses it to impale him as the hunter taught her. Her next trap fails to kill a bandit, and she is forced to use a bow and arrow to shoot him, a weapon that her father had unsuccessfully attempted to teach her earlier. Her first shot misses. Remaining calm, she hits and kills the bandit with her second shot. Dagmar uses Frigg as bait to lure Signe. As Signe frees the bound girl, Dagmar attacks. As Dagmar drowns Signe in a river, Frigg calls out to her, addressing Dagmar as her mother. Dagmar turns toward her joyously, and Signe kills Dagmar while her back is turned. Together, the girls bury Signe's family, and Signe hands Frigg a necklace she made for her brother. When Frigg asks what the rune on it means, Signe explains that it means "family".Isabel Christine Andreasen as SigneIngrid Bolsø Berdal as DagmarMilla Olin as FriggTobias Santelmann as ArvidBjørn Moan as LokeHallvard Holmen as HaraldIren Reppen as SynnøveHans Jacob Sand as TrygveMartin Slaatto as BrynjarKristian Espedahl as GrimRichard Skog as SkjalgEirik Holden as Tormod
Shooting took place in Sirdal, Norway.
Escape premiered at the 2012 Slash Film Festival on 20 September and had its Norwegian theatrical premiere on 27 September 2012.
Alissa Simon of Variety wrote, "This simple but adrenaline-fueled survival tale boasts impressively muscular direction from Norwegian director Roar Uthaug." Thomas Spurlin of DVD Talk rated it 3/5 stars and wrote, "The visual tone, raw energy, and an absorbing pair of performances from Isabel Christine Andreasen and Ingrid Bolso Berdal elevate the simple-focused depiction of two girls' escape, a tense rush through picturesque landscapes that compensates for unlikelihood with sheer edge." Bill Gibron of DVD Verdict wrote, "If you want something a bit different in the one against nature subgenre, Escape will entertain. Just get all images of Katniss Everdeen and her kid killing contest out of your mind and you'll enjoy this."