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Fantastic Fest 2013: Escape From Tomorrow (Film Review)

"Escape from Tomorrow"

“Escape from Tomorrow”

“In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father’s sanity is challenged by a chance encounter with two underage girls on holiday,” reads the official plot synopsis. True, but the real question is, did Disney, a global corporation known for strong-arming anyone who runs afoul of its intellectual property rights, allow the film to be released? Or did they simply not care? Director Randy Moore swears that Disney has simply ignored his film.

Some call Escape From Tomorrow a horror movie, and to mainstream audiences, it will play as freaky enough here and there. While the film flirts with horror elements, there are simply not enough of them to call the film “horror”; in fact, it’s nowhere close. Escape is more of a surrealist drama shot in black and white, which will no doubt be trying for the same mainstream audience. The story follows a man, who is husband to the obligatory nagging wife and father of two small, demanding children. Of course, we see everything from his point of view, to how his family drags him down, to his infatuation with two very young (ew) Parisian girls. On the very last day of the family’s vacation, this bedraggled dad gets a phone call from his boss, promptly firing him. He brushes it off so the family can concentrate on having a good time, because Disney World is no place for reality.

"Escape from Tomorrow"

“Escape from Tomorrow”

We find out how much truth that holds as the day wears on; his son’s eyes go black, the animatronics in “A Small World” take on scary faces. Once or twice, the harpy of a wife sees strange things herself, and if the film continued on this bent instead of letting its father character’s libido get in the way, we would have a very unique story. Alas, the film goes down the usual path of the husband’s wandering eye, and we are treated to his femme fatale and evil witch to his wife’s exhausted saint. These tired tropes get in the way of the story; unless you’re a middle-aged male, tangibly riding vicariously on this guy’s coattails into some kind of madness.

That said, the movie isn’t without its good parts. The backstory of the above femme fatale/witch is interesting and could warrant a whole film on its own. There’s some kind of weird sickness called the “cat flu,” a cutesy parallel to reality’s bird flu, maybe, that came in a bit too late and warranted further explanation. But for those who’ve been traumatized when Disney didn’t lead up to perceived expectations or for the curious who like a bit of anarchy with their pop culture, Escape From Tomorrow may satisfy some cravings for the bizarre.

See for yourself soon: the film releases on October 11th from Producers Distribution Agency on VOD and in select theaters.

 

DP Lucas Lee Graham and director Randy Moore at Fantastic Fest 2013

DP Lucas Lee Graham and director Randy Moore at Fantastic Fest 2013

 

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About Michele Galgana

Michele “Izzy” Galgana is a freelance writer and film festival programmer. She has curated films for the Boston Underground Film Festival, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, All Things Horror Online screening nights, and has written for Rue Morgue and All Things Horror Online.

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