Escape From Tomorrow, written and directed by Randy Moore is a testosterone infused fever dream of a movie. Shot in black and white, the film looks really beautiful considering it was filmed in Disneyland and Disney World without permission. Yes, Randy Moore used guerilla film making tactics and made a horror/fantasy/drama within the golden gates of Disney. Unfortunately, this is the most interesting thing about the movie.
The movie opens with a P.O.V. of riding on Big Thunder Railroad with soothing Disney-esque music playing in the background. If you ignore the fact that a man died on this very ride ten years ago, then it’s really a very lovely and nostalgic opening sequence. We are treated to all of the sights that make a Disneyland experience every magical thing that it is;parades, fireworks, meeting the characters, eating lots of food, wearing silly hats and walking around all day with a smile on your face. If you have never had the joy of a trip to Disneyland, I am truly, truly sorry because there really is nothing else like it and, overall, this was the general tone of the movie. We are visiting the park with Jim, his wife Emily, daughter Sara and son Jack on the last day of their vacation. Jim has just been informed that he has lost his job. Instead of ruining the trip with this news, he simply insists that they all have the best day that they can.
On the tram to the park, Jim is distracted by two beautiful young girls. Initially it’s mildly amusing and then it just feels really uncomfortable to see him looking at them the way he is because they are UNDERAGE. While riding It’s A Small World, Jim starts seeing and hearing things that aren’t really happening. If you’ve been on this ride, you know that this is, actually, pretty believable. It’s A Small World can make anyone crazy.
Through the course of his day, Jim starts following the two young girls and even tries to interact with them at the pool. Watching Jim watch these girls in their bikini’s made me feel like I needed to go to church. Of course, Jim’s wife ruins this moment for him;Emily is a REAL nag. She is the epitome of every negative stereotype that we hold of a nagging wife. Really, she excels at this.
Going into much detail about the story would spoil the fun of a truly unique and interesting idea. It would have made for a better experience if the horror/fantasy aspect had been explored more than the inner thoughts of a male mid-life crisis. Jim has been let go from his job, his wife emasculates him, his kids don’t respect him, he leers at young girls, has sex with a stranger while his daughter is in the other room, he see’s naked women while riding Soarin’ and then there is a moment with a tube of Neosporin squirting all over and, specifically, over the picture of a naked woman that was simply asinine. I found this irritating simply because I don’t know what a male mental meltdown has to do with a horror story set in Disneyland. All of the female characters in this movie were negative generalizations of types of women that men hate. As Jim leers his way through the park, I just lose more and more interest in him and his drama. I would say that this movie is “Lynchian”, but that would be an insult to David Lynch. There are some truly great, innovative moments in this movie, but overall it’s a messy, uneven exploration of a man unraveling at the hands of everything that he cannot control;namely, women.