Unfortunately I did not love this movie like I was hoping. It’s actually pretty bad. That being said, it does pull off the hardest part. They actually film in Disney and it looks great, other than a few green screen shots. What falls flat is the story. It’s too bad this is the story that came out of something like this. At times it reminds me of a Jim Jarmusch film but as the story unfolds it just kind of reminds me of something I would have thought of in middle school. In terms of movies with people going crazy, I just want to watch Hour of The Wolf with Elizabeth next. That movie does it right cause I remember wanting to watching it over again right when I finished, when I watched it for the first time.
Man oh man. Bad movies are one thing, but disappointing movies are their own brand of upsetting. And Escape from Tomorrow might be one of the most disappointing movies I’ve ever seen.
If you don’t know anything about it, Escape from Tomorrow was filmed at Disney World and Disneyland using guerrilla filmmaking to keep from being caught. It was also edited very carefully to avoid copyright infringement (nothing licensed is ever used, they never actually say Disney, etc). I knew this going into the movie, but I assumed it was more of a Blair Witch-style of single-camera filmmaking. But Escape from Tomorrow is really beautifully shot and you would never know that they didn’t have permission to film there.
Given how incredible the movie looks and feels thanks to being filmed that way, it’s super disappointing that the story actually really sucks. It follows Jim (Roy Abramsohn) and his wife Emily (Elena Schuber) on a family vacation to Disney World. In the opening of the movie, Jim gets fired over the phone on the last day of the vacation. As they go through the park, Jim both hallucinates evil imagery and follows (in real life) two very young teenage French girls as they also go through the park. At one point, Jim’s daughter is pushed down and he takes her to an infirmary for a scraped knee; there a nurse tells him to be careful of “cat flu.” Throughout the day, Jim continues to follow the girls, fight with Emily, and at one point blacks out during a conversation with a strange woman and wakes up to her on top of him, having sex, while his daughter waits in the woman’s hotel room. At this point, I think we’re supposed to think that Jim is just going insane and most of this is in his head, until Emily sees one of the French girl’s face transform into a weird demon face. That’s where the movie really lost me.
See, it was one thing when everything was in Jim’s mind (so we thought). But as soon as Emily saw the demon face, too, the movie suddenly turned from “it’s all in Jim’s mind” to “it’s all a conspiracy perpetrated by Disney.” Because that’s what it turns into: Jim’s not actually crazy, he’s just part of a crazy, shoddily-explained conspiracy that Disney is, for whatever reason, involved in. And then, for one last blow, Escape from Tomorrow ends on a Don’t Look Now-esque resolution: Jim starts having violent diarrhea, then starts coughing up hairballs, and we discover that he’s contracted the once-mentioned-a-long-time-ago cat flu. Emily finds him the next morning dead in the bathroom, with blood and scratches on the wall, and with an erection and cat eyes. Uhhhhhh.
Maybe this isn’t a good comparison, but I couldn’t help but think of Pi the whole time we watched Escape from Tomorrow. I sort of went through a mild Pi obsession in high school. If you don’t know, Pi is basically about a math genius going insane, mostly just in his apartment. I just sooooo badly wanted the story of Pi transplanted into the setting of Escape from Tomorrow.
I guess I don’t know who should see this movie. If I had known how shitty the story was, I probably wouldn’t have seen it, but then I would have missed seeing the end product of how it was filmed, which was still pretty amazing.