Escape From Tomorrow: A Disney Nightmare

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Escape From Tomorrow is a surrealist, dream-like chronicle of one man’s psychological turmoil at Disney Parks. Randy Moore has created a film that is unlike any other, and may traumatize the modern Mickey Mouse rubes of the world.

Randy Moore was the talk of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and his film is now available to the public after a lengthy investigation regarding usage rights. Disney has refused to publically comment on the film, which was in danger of never being seen due to potential legal problems. The majority of the film was secretly shot guerrilla-style on location at Disney Parks.

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Escape From Tomorrow was shot in black and white, which may not seem like a big deal at first, but the visuals slowly add to the creepiness of the mood set by Moore. In the opening scene, a legendary Disney myth is addressed, and one will recognize that the film is not going to be your typical Disney tale.

Jim is on the last day of a vacation with his wife and two kids at DisneyWorld, and learns that he lost his job. He continues the day without revealing the bad news, and begins to not only act strange, but experience hallucinations. The distressed man takes his son on several rides, and becomes interested in two French teenage girls whom always seem to be laughing. The son eventually picks up on the wandering eye of his father, and asks why they are following the girls. Jim eases the boy’s mind, but also tells him that his mother is not beautiful in the classic sense. Ouch.

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As the day progresses, Jim experiences several strange encounters, and continues to see (or follow) the mysterious French girls. Once he meets up with his wife, she discovers that something is horribly wrong.

Escape From Tomorrow certainly won’t be remembered for its acting. Roy Abramsohn (Jim) will remind one of a bad actor in a late night horror film, but maybe that is the charm. There are several scenes where Abramsohn tries much too hard, rather than channeling his inner Brando. The performance may remind some of a poor man’s Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead 2. Jim is not a funny character, nor particularly likeable (he is creeping on teenage girls), but you’ll find yourself consistently guessing as to what his motivations are.

Randy Moore’s creation is all about the visuals, and entering the mind of the lead character. One can project a happy image (DisneyWorld), but what is happening behind the scenes? Jim can smile all he wants, but he has experienced a devastating loss, and allows his mind to stray from reality. Is Jim attracted to the young girls for their looks, or maybe because of what they represent?

Fans of the FX series “The Americans” will recognize Annet Mahendru who plays Nina on the series, and I believe was around 21 years of age while shooting Escape From Tomorrow. Mahendru clearly has the most potential of the cast, by a mile, but isn’t given enough dialogue to showcase her acting talents.

The brainchild of Randy Moore definitely isn’t for everybody, but those who do enjoy the film will likely find more to think about with each viewing. The backstory is amazing, and the visual mind-trip is worth exploring.

Escape From Tomorrow is available to rent on iTunes, and showing in select theaters across the country.

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