Escape From Tomorrow (2013)



It's no secret to anyone who pays the least bit of attention to anything on this site that I am a pretty big Disney-file. I'm not one of those crazy people TLC makes shows about, but Missus Joshua and I can usually be found celebrating our anniversary at one of the Disney parks in Florida every January. She practically grew up there and we got married in Orlando not far from the Magic Kingdom. Needless to say we enjoy ourselves in in the company of Mickey, Minnie, and Co. So when it was announced that there had been a horror film shot guerrilla style at Disney World, I was intrigued...and extremely skeptical.

To be clear, I am one of the most cynical people in the world. I'm like Randall in Clerks II "I hate everything and everything sucks." And I get the common tropes having to do with Disney. "It's too expensive." "The lines are too long." "It presents a false ideal of what life should be." Usually my answers are: "Yes it is," "Not if you plan correctly," and "Shut up and have fun." So watching an hour and a half of people bitching about common Disney complaints seemed like the shittiest way to spend an hour and a half I could think of.

While Escape From Tomorrow certainly harvests some low hanging fruit on the "shit to complain about"
tree. It also takes things to such oddly surreal places that the setting of the film becomes a non sequitur at a certain point. The guerrilla film shot in and about Disney becomes about something completely different, for better or for worse.

Jim (Roy Abramsohn) wakes up on the last day of his Disney World vacation to a call from his boss telling him he's been fired from his job. To make matters worse his creepy as hell son decides it would be fun to lock his father out on the balcony, then go back to sleep. Not be deterred from enjoying his families last day at the park, Jim gathers the troops and hits the monorail (one of the best reasons for staying at Disneys Contemporary Resort). There he lays his eyes on the two young (very young...definitely arrestable if you get my meaning) French girls that will change his life forever. A little smile is all it take and he's hooked. What starts as minor infatuation, quickly escalates to felony stalking, culminating with Jim forcing his son on Space Mountain just to be near the girls. His son gets sick. He finds his annoying wife again and they switch kids and Jim begins the staking process again...until he runs into someone even more sinister.

Here's where a simple story about a man crumbling under the pressure of bringing a family on a daunting Disney vacation becomes something completely different. If you ca make that leap then you might dig the rest of the film. Unfortunately, when the film heads into David Lynch territory, it lost me. Escape From Tomorrow, while trying to illustrate the common Disney urban legends, devolves into a surrealistic mess that sacrifices narrative for weirdness. It's a shame too, because up until that point Escape From Tomorrow is something really special.

I can't imagine the planning and the plotting that had to go into the shooting of this film. While Disney bills itself as the happiest place on earth, below that surface is an organization that would make Hitler blush. Nothing goes unnoticed. Now whether that was one of the reason the film falls apart in the third act, I can't be sure. But it certainly could not have made the process any easier.

To to that end, there is some really good stuff happening in the film. Abramshon is very good as Jim, the fore lorn and tragically twisted family patriarch. Elena Schuber does a really good job as Jims loving, but just grating enough to get under your nerves, wife, Emily. And again, the amount of planning that went in to making this film is a lesson in perseverance. I just wish the end product would have been better.

Escape From Tomorrow is currently available wherever they still sell DVD's and Blu Ray. You can probably find it on all the reputable pay streaming services as well (iTunes/Amazon). Check it out if you are the mood for something surreal that operates on a number of different levels, or if you are a Disney completest who lets curiosity get the best of them (just don't get too hung up on the Disney World shots juxtaposed with Disneyland shots).

**1/2 stars out of *****

As always...thanks for reading and "Enjoy every sandwich."

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