October 6, 2022

Here’s a movie that transcends its own gimmick.

Escape from Tomorrow was filmed in secret on location at both Disney World and Land. Scripts were kept on phones and the cameras used to film it were in line with what a normal visitor would have.

Here’s a movie that transcends its own gimmick.

Escape from Tomorrow was filmed in secret on location at both Disney World and Land. Scripts were kept on phones and the cameras used to film it were in line with what a normal visitor would have. So purely from a technical standpoint this movie is an interesting piece of filmmaking. Simply getting a move made under those circumstances is impressive. The depth of field they had to work with was very narrow window, and the movie needed to be filmed in black and white. They also had to record audio separately. Director Randy Moore went South Korea to edit the movie, determined to finish it without Disney finding out about it. Once it came out Disney decided that the best way to handle this was to just ignore the film and not cause a stink.

The really surprising thing though is how good and watchable a movie they managed to put together.

The movie starts with a man, Jim, on vacation with his wife and two kids at Disney World, getting a phone call informing him that he’s been fired. This kicks of his descent as he tries to put on a happy face around his family as he slowly dies inside. Part of the movie is that raw emotion and anxiety of being fucking miserable while surrounded by a world built around the idea of joy.

The movie does a little of exploring the dark underbelly of Disney World, but for the most part the theme park is just a setting. The movie isn’t really about Disney World, it happens to take place there. That idea of “The Mouse being dead inside,” informs the movie thematically, but that’s about it.

The characters in this movie are sexual creatures. Of note the movie gets a lot of mileage out of the oedipal complex of Jim’s son; there’s also some alliance shifting that goes on among the family that, while kind of ridiculous also has that creepy air of reality to it that makes it really unsettling. Jim also spends a lot of time leering at two French girls.

The movie is more of a psychological horror movie, but its also a really funny dark comedy. The closest comparison to its sense of humor is to a Terry Gilliam movie like Brazil. There’s an over the top ridiculousness to many of the scenes that were filmed away from the park, the film spreading its comedic wings in a space where it can. Everything filmed at the park had to be something that wouldn’t draw suspicion, but much of the most memorable stuff was filmed in hotel rooms or on a sound stage. It’s the contrast with the reality of those theme park scenes that make the parts where the movie just goes for it hit that much harder.

This is an impressive piece of filmmaking; it looks great and considering the restrictions that’s fucking incredible. On top of that it’s just a really bizarre, funny, fucked up movie. It’s not really like anything else I’ve seen and I really enjoyed it.

[youtube=://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9ShJ1NZ0F4&w=854&h=480]