I managed to catch Escape from Tomorrow at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida yesterday at a student screening. Yes I am a senior in college studying screenwriting, and yes, you should listen to what I have to say. I was first introduced to Mr. Moore‘s film in my Scriptwriting Techniques class and I was immediately hooked. The prospect of a horror movie being filmed illegally at Walt Disney parks was just too alluring that I knew I absolutely had to see this movie, one way or another.
Escape from Tomorrow follows Jim, a middle-aged husband and father of two young children on a family vacation to Walt Disney World. When he receives a very unfortunate call from his boss, Jim descends into madness as he tries to enjoy what remains of his holiday before having to break the news to his family.
Going into the auditorium, I expected what’s been whispered throughout the web – lunacy and horror. Not only did Escape from Tomorrow deliver, but it had an unexpected hilarity to it. There were times when I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or be in absolute terror which in itself is something we haven’t seen done intentionally, and I stress intentionally, in quite a while. The film was a testament to insanity in a pseudo-Lewis Carroll sort of way.
Uniqueness is hard to come by in the Age of the Sequel/Prequel/Remake/Reboot. But Escape from Tomorrow manages to give us something we’ve never seen before, and for that very reason I call it the must see movie of the year.
At first I found the acting to be sub-par, especially Roy Abramsohn who played Jim and Jack Dalton as his son, Elliot. It all seemed very forced and their dialogue, recycled. As the film progressed however, the performances seemed to fit in this fantasy world Jim was attempting to recreate for his children the same way he had experienced as a child. Knowing that, the film creates some uneasiness for those who grew up with Disney in their lives.
As a kid growing up in upper-middle class suburban Texas, my parents often took myself and occasionally friends and family members to Orlando for the magic that is Walt Disney World. My father grew up in southern California near Burbank, approximately a forty minute drive (with decent traffic) through metro Los Angeles. He was even there the following week that it opened back in 1955 when he was five-years-old. Needless to say, my family bleeds Disney. So to see Escape from Tomorrow with its Disney princesses who are actually high-priced hookers for wealthy Asian businessmen, advanced A.I. technology hidden in “The Giant Golfball” as my family calls it, in Epcot, and Emu meat served to unaware park-goers, it smartly and sadistically turns the tables on the “magic” most of us experienced as children.
Never have these beloved rides including The People Mover, It’s a Small World, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh been so utterly disturbing…
To be completely honest, the one thing I found wrong with the film was that I think…scratch that…I know the film would go straight over American audience’s heads. Escape from Tomorrow is an incredibly cerebral film that tugs at your crazy-strings and almost fools you into confusing fantasy, however dark it may be, with an unsettling reality.