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Escape From Tomorrow Reviews

Page 1 of 10
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2014
It's almost like The Shining, but instead of a hotel, is Disneyland. A truly audacious and provocative film (maybe the first film to do so in a such powerful way in a long time and that might take another long time do see other effort like these), bringing a surreal and darkly humour and series of odd/creepy scenes. Sometimes the movie shows a poor chroma key in daylight, it's censure itself and bring in one scene an (probably) involuntary comedy. Escape From Tomorrow is an unique ride by Guerrilla Cinema, surreal creepy horror-fantasy, B-Movies, mad scientist pictures, Disney characters and the list continues without stop. Also very bold for bring the name Disney and Siemens as part of an evil plan. Randy Moore made what a lot of people call "The movie that in any logical reason should exist!" (With this phase of course is a picture that you must see) and probably the also called "The ultimate guerrilla film". Actually, I would give a three and half stars, but for being so goddamn audaciously bold and for being the first 'Disney movie' (without being MADE by Disney, but involve it) that I like in a really long time, I would give four stars. Walt Disney actually would enjoy Escape From Tomorrow, because the company that he create made really worst things in the last years, that an unauthorized cult horror independent film. This is a true MUST SEE. Fresh.
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2014
Shot guerrilla-style at Disney World, this surreal satire follows the midlife crisis of Jim, whose anxieties over his job and family problems mutate into vivid theme park hallucinations involving him being imprisoned by a mad scientist in a secret room beneath Epcot center and encountering a real life wicked witch in her hotel room. In some ways this is one of those ideas that sounds better on paper, but it raises a host of fascinating issues, from its in-movie themes of imagination and escapism to external questions about filmmaking methods and ethics.
c0up
c0up

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2013
'Escape From Tomorrow'. An overtly sexualised mid-life crisis through the mind of a bored man. Admire how it was filmed. The result, /shrug
boxman
boxman

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2013
Escape From Tomorrow built a wave of buzz coming out of the Sundance Film Festival, namely because it was a bizarre, psycho-sexual little indie film shot secretly on the premises of Disney World and Disney Land. Writer/director Randy Moore shot his movie in secret, unbeknownst to Disney and the park employees. He was so paranoid about word getting out what they had done that Moore edited the film in another country. There is palpable fear at the reach and power of Disney's coffers, enough so that a character mentioning the very D-word is silenced, and so I recall early on that people predicted Disney and its armada of lawyers would never allow Escape From Tomorrow to be released. Rather than get litigious, the Mouse House has decided to simply clam up, refusing comment. It's a smart move, because besides a passing novelty, no one is going to remember the oh so monotonous Escape From Tomorrow in a matter of months.

The wisp of a plot involves a family vacationing at a Disney park. On the final day, the father (Roy Abramsohn) has been told he has lost his job. The rest of the day follows suit as the father loses his grip with reality, interpreting sinister signs throughout the park. He also keeps running into a pair of French teen girls who enjoy holding hands, being flirty, and singing. After the third or fourth time, the father starts to trail the girls, eerily entranced. They warn him that dire things will befall him if he doesn't go with them.

Take away the ballsy, surreptitiously recorded angle, the "how'd they do that?" factor, and ultimately is there a movie here worth watching? I would definitively say... no. Admittedly it's interesting to dissect how this guerilla-style stunt was accomplished, watching scene after scene and figuring out what was shot in the parks unbeknownst to tourists and employees, what was likely shot on a set, where the cuts marry the two, and what techniques the director and his crew utilized to film a movie without blowing their cover. I think many of the scenes had to be improvised, at least the dialogue within the park, because starting and stopping and repeating lines in public, out in the open, would seem suspicious (the cursing would also seem to be courting danger). The Disney theme parks have millions of visitors, so people recording every action would not seem out of the ordinary. Escape From Tomorrow works as a stunt, with the audience picking apart the magic trick simultaneously as it's performed.

However, a stunt is all that Escape From Tomorrow is because from a thematic, subtext standpoint, this movie is a mess. There just isn't enough weirdness going on here and whatever small doses of it we get is given precious little connection to any larger theme. It feels like the filmmakers settled on the most facilely subversive idea - Disney Land, the happiest place on Earth, is not. Undercutting all of Disney's famous family-friendly iconography with the occasional weird thing is not enough. A kid has black eyes. Ten minutes later a stranger makes an offensive comment. Ten minutes later something in a ride that is supposed to be happy looks mean instead. The majority of the movie plays out like you're watching someone's boring vacation. You don't care about the characters. There is no plot to speak of, and that can be acceptable in an atmospheric film that serves as a visual descent into madness. There just isn't enough madness here. Escape From Tomorrow is far too tedious to be effective. Long stretches are just watching the family traverse the theme park, notably with the father always running into the French teens. There is far too much padding, little connection from scene to scene, and the end is just a confusing muddle groping for a deeper meaning. Midway through, when the father is captured and held underground Epcot, it looks like the movie is going to take that next step, ramping up the weirdness. Well that conflict is readily solved and then we're back to the occasional boring out-of-place item. I want to say that Escape From Tomorrow is like David Lynch's vacation video, but that is giving too much undeserved praise. This is like the deleted scenes of David Lynch's vacation video.

My colleague Ben Bailey countered my negative option with the idea that Escape From Tomorrow is meant to be a dark comedy and to view it through that lens; all right then, because as a "comedy" it still is half-baked, meandering, and poorly executed. The incongruous imagery, often sexual or demonic, is rather cheap in the sense that it's just flipping the staid Disney script on wholesomeness with no more subversive substance than a moody teenager scribbling on his notebook. The Disney princesses double as high-priced courtesans? Okay, now go further rather than just taking a standard Disney character and making it adult in a shallow manner. There's a scene where the father escapes by squeezing a tube of Neosporin to lubricate his hands out of confines, and oh boy, the white liquid shoots onto hanging pictures of female body parts. What a riot. Taking a cockeyed, perverted look at Disney is not the same as developing comedy, and even that cockeyed view is lame. I think that the father's lustful pursuit of the French girls is meant to be comedic, but it was only creepy. When he sneaks up to spy on them in their bathing suits, how else should I interpret that? If this is supposed to be a comedy then Escape From Tomorrow is an even larger misfire.

Escape From Tomorrow is a nonsensical, plodding, superficial film, and it adds up to a whole lot of nothing. There isn't a grander statement or sense of commentary. There is just scene-to-scene weirdness that grows old rapidly. I commend the ingenuity of the filmmakers for being able to secretly record a movie at one of the most heavily trafficked locations in the world. I don't think the filmmakers had any clear vision of what they wanted to say with their movie, settling on "weird crap at Disney Land," and then putting all their time and energy into planning how to pull off this coup, never mind the fact that the finished product was not nearly worth the effort. If you've ever wanted to be trapped on a bad vacation, then enjoy, movie masochists.

Nate's Grade: C-
Liam G

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2013
The last thing I expected this movie to be was dull, but "Escape from Tomorrow" is just that ; tedious, badly written and poorly acted.
Cinema-Maniac
Cinema-Maniac

Super Reviewer

October 27, 2013
The selling point of "Escape From Tomorrow" is the fact it was filmed entirely in Disneyland (which according to the film characters is in California, Florida) without anyone noticing it. Reason for that being as a film it does not function, does not understand what a film is, and is entirely purposeless with no set goal to accomplish. If release as someone vacation videos it would been far superior product than the one right before us.

Escape From Tomorrow has nothing that would resemble a story. It has a concept for a final act, but missing is the middle elevating raising action, and a beginning that makes us care about what we are watching in the first place. Never at any point does the film "plot" is ever made noticeable. The plot, just like the filmmakers imaginations, is nowhere to be seen on sight. Fortunately it did know what a protagonist is. Unfortunately it does not know what makes a good protagonist. Our protagonist is Jim, an utterly unlikable father whose actions have no consequences thus creating no conflict. Jim cheats on his wife which is never brought up in the film, Jim lets his wife do the hard work in parenting the children, Jim disregards his children safety (his looses sight of his kids several time) to stalk two sixteen year old girls around Disneyland, Jim constantly thinking about women he could have sex with (even after he cheated), and worse of all Jim is not given a single earned redeemable trait. This is an example of what I like to call an "anti character". A character specifically designed to destroy the foundation of storytelling, infuriate the audience with his/her existence, and represent the emptiness of its creation.

For the first two act all we see is Jim and his family going around Disneyland going on rides until the one hour mark where Jim is electroshock into unconsciousness by workers. Within the first two act it fails to make us comfortable in Disneyland. Without an atmosphere of any kind the eerie direction of isolation it was going for never creeps into the viewer. I would make a joke how the filmmakers behind this put an intermission in a 90 minute film, but that intermission is a testament to the filmmakers incompetency acknowledging the joyless void they have created. The final act hints at a bigger scope attempting to make Disneyland this twisted and extraterrestrial control environment, but gives the opposite the effect. It callbacks to earlier seemingly unimportant events that play a role in the plot which never receives buildup. When reusing certain plot points it never does anything extraordinary or twisted with them. Instead it plays out realistically going against the intention. Disneyland through this film never comes off as twisted because most of the time because extraordinary things are rarely presented in the film.

Technical aspect are nothing impressive with audio and cinematography always being problematic. Framing of a shot can be either to high, to low, to far in one direction to name creating awkward shots. Also, it's unable to conceal the usage of a green screen making the environment appear flat with actors sticking out. Audio is problematic as the film scores will be drown out by the dialogue or the noise of people in the Disneyland. Acting is terrible on all account. Being mostly a one man showcase for Roy Abramsohn who comes of as a second rate Ray Romano minus the charm. His character is written in such a despicable way its further downgraded by Abramsohn awful performance. Abramsohn lack of motivation and phone in emotions makes him a hatable presence on screen. Regardless Abramsohn is not be blamed coming of so negatively, but more blame should be put on what this film calls writing.

Escape From Tomorrow was better left untouched yesterday, better left unseen today, and should forever disappear into obscurity tomorrow. It's only has the novelty of being filmed in Disneyland to its name and nothing more. Devoid of magic, wonder, and joy despite taking place entirely in Disneyland "Escapes From Tomorrow" delivers one of the unmagical and unhappiest 90 minutes possible.
DA Z

Super Reviewer

September 11, 2013
As soon as I heard of Disney potentially suing this film for illegal filming on their property, I was hooked, regardless of the plot. Then comes along the genre "avant-garde art-horror" and I basically lose it. It's uncommon for me to get so hyped over a film with a sketchy director and no cast standouts, but my hype was brutally and gregariously fed in dashingly classic black-and-white.

Because I've chosen to view Escape from Tomorrow as devoid of a meaningful plot, or rather an unimportant one, I'll discuss most of the film through its symbolism and underlying ideologies. These analogies are what create such a uniquely horrifying experience. Sure, Escape from Tomorrow is about a guy who goes on a really bad trip at Disney World. You know, like on bad acid the entire time, except without the bad acid. But that's not why Escape from Tomorrow is unique or important. It's unique in that it subtlety flows through social concepts such as corporate propaganda, subliminal messaging, even science fiction, and later interwoven with philosophical concepts such as the theories of memory, human apathy, and consumerism. Its aesthetically haunting and it is uncomfortably relevant.

Escape from Tomorrow exists as a social commentary of theme parks and Disney World and the entire Disney Corporation. Escape from Tomorrow is equally as much a directorially artistic film with such a style that has been unseen since Eraserhead. It's the post-Lynchian era of cinema and someone has succeeded in creating the next best thing. Lynch and Cronenberg fans will rejoice, along with cult-classic junkies. When it all comes down to it, Escape from Tomorrow is a nightmarish and though-provoking piece of art.
Sylvester K

Super Reviewer

September 17, 2013
One of the most hilarious films I've seen this year, I know it was filmed without the permission from Disney, but this made it all the more fun to watch. I love the adventurous, audacious idea of turning Disneyland into a nightmarish world. Escape from tomorrow had surprisingly good camera works and perfect editing, the neo-noir monochrome feeling from the editing really brought out the narrative intentions. At times the film seemed silly with the fake visual effects but it made the film more entertaining to watch, even more realistic. I really love how each attraction was either demonized or sexualized. I really want to go to Disneyland now! I mean, the film is not perfect, but it's clever and engaging.
December 8, 2013
This is unrated but if it had been rated, it would have to be an R. It was weird. Very weird. Not just a typical horrow movie weird.
October 28, 2013
The whole concept of this movie is interesting. The movie clearly lures you in by the premise and fact that the movie is filmed in Disney world. The main character Jim is just fantastic, and really the first part of the movie is the scary part of the movie, and by far the more enjoyable. It portrays a man who simply went through the motions through life, and felt the need to have kids with a women he found just to be attractive enough, and Disney world made this evident. This I believe is a realistic view of a lot of men and families in America and that the brilliance of the movie. Unfortunately, the movie decides to have a second act. The second act is absolutely terrible and so forced to try and be weird and bizarre and it winds up being a complete joke. This movie had such good potential and 3 stars are earned for the first half of the movie, but the rest of the movie is absolute garbage.
October 27, 2013
It's one of those films where I can appreciate the filmmaking process (apparently they shot the whole thing at DisneyWorld without permission), and the visuals achieve their desired effect, but when the end credits roll, you have to ask yourself: Did I enjoy this? And I have to say that I really didn't. I'm sure it has some deeper social commentary that is probably flying over my head, but the bottom line is that I didn't walk away from it with anything other than being a little disturbed and that I received a reminder that I never want to go to DisneyWorld :)
October 13, 2013
I give the filmmaker behind Escape from Tomorrow credit for making something this boldly original and for the spoofing/skewering of our society's ideal of perfect entertainment (that is anything but cheap ... as it comes with some major costs). Jim and his family embark on a family holiday to Disneyland where his merely-attractive wife (there is a great segment in the film about this) and overly-excited kids hope to have the time of their lives ... although Jim becomes haunted by spooky images and other paranoid visions. His subconscious doesn't allow him to enjoy himself as he becomes obsessed with two cute teenage girls and he worries about his family's life and whether or not he can provide for them as he has just lost his job (unrevealed thus far to his wife). His kids become hassles and he doesn't really want to see his wife. The entire film becomes something rather bizarre and the simple narrative of "a family spending a day at Disneyland" even becomes suspect when things become surreal and reality becomes both skewed and altered. We even get a mad scientist and a decapitation ... just because. The film is shot in black and white for effect ... and it does help. The colorful world of Disney isn't what we have come to expect ... nor is this film. I think a repeat viewing would answer a few of the unanswered questions I still have regarding it; but I do appreciate the scathing critique the film has on us and our consumerist mindsets. The ending means what? Let's repeat to figure it out: The film starts with Jim ...
September 16, 2013
Purposefully weird-cum-nonsensical doesn't always work in a film's favor. It does, however, in the case of "Escape from Tomorrow", the first movie ever shot (secretly) in Disney Parks, Orlando. Which is why "Tomorrow" hits best and draws you in most when it's only slightly off-kilter before going full bonkers in the final third. As a surreal family vacation through the eyes of one seriously unstable husband and father (Roy Abramsohn) "Escape from Tomorrow" plays like a special hour-long episode of "Louie". Disneyland itself is really just a backdrop to the perverted dysfunction at hand. The last half hour doesn't totally deprive the movie of its odd charm, but it starts to forsakes rhyme or reason for hammer-and-nail blatancy. Its twists don't add up as any sort of indictment, nor do they reach a particular emotional peak.

That being said there's a lot of fun in watching "Escape from Tomorrow" go from eager smile to crooked grin as every mouse-eared nuance gets a skeezy underbelly and hidden double meaning, even as it leans away from commentary and toward the absurd. There's no describing it; there's only mistaking or misconstruing it. Which there will be plenty of. Moore, judging from his debut, is clearly a filmmaker with balls. And with "Escape from Tomorrow" -- less citation than satire, and not unlike the origins of the Disney brand itself -- he's built a brilliantly entertaining caricature that's both bratty and bizarre. Small world.
October 12, 2013
Well that certainly was terrifying. If you want to make a truly scary movie, film an internationally loved vacation spot without them ever knowing and portray it in a way that makes it look totally surreal and revolting. This feels like being strapped into a ride at a bizarro amusement park from another dimension that takes you through what's supposed to be an incredibly enjoyable experience for Earthlings but instead it turns out to be a brutal trip through madness and disorder and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. And you just know there's never going to be another film made quite like this, so watching this is akin to watching a supernova.
October 11, 2013
I'm not sure how much of it was intentional, but to my surprise, "Escape From Tomorrow" works so incredibly well as a dark comedy. Some of the humor is pretty straight forward but there's a lot of subtle humor as well, and even if you're not entirely on board with it (which most people won't be), it's still worth a watch due to it's unique style and ambition, just seeing what they are barely able to get away with. It has it's faults, but it's worth it in the end.
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2014
It's almost like The Shining, but instead of a hotel, is Disneyland. A truly audacious and provocative film (maybe the first film to do so in a such powerful way in a long time and that might take another long time do see other effort like these), bringing a surreal and darkly humour and series of odd/creepy scenes. Sometimes the movie shows a poor chroma key in daylight, it's censure itself and bring in one scene an (probably) involuntary comedy. Escape From Tomorrow is an unique ride by Guerrilla Cinema, surreal creepy horror-fantasy, B-Movies, mad scientist pictures, Disney characters and the list continues without stop. Also very bold for bring the name Disney and Siemens as part of an evil plan. Randy Moore made what a lot of people call "The movie that in any logical reason should exist!" (With this phase of course is a picture that you must see) and probably the also called "The ultimate guerrilla film". Actually, I would give a three and half stars, but for being so goddamn audaciously bold and for being the first 'Disney movie' (without being MADE by Disney, but involve it) that I like in a really long time, I would give four stars. Walt Disney actually would enjoy Escape From Tomorrow, because the company that he create made really worst things in the last years, that an unauthorized cult horror independent film. This is a true MUST SEE. Fresh.
D.A. Zapata
March 29, 2014
As soon as I heard of Disney potentially suing this film for illegal filming on their property, I was hooked, regardless of the plot. Then comes along the genre "avant-garde art-horror" and I basically lose it. It's uncommon for me to get so hyped over a film with a sketchy director and no cast standouts, but my hype was brutally and gregariously fed in dashingly classic black-and-white.

Because I've chosen to view Escape from Tomorrow as devoid of a meaningful plot, or rather an unimportant one, I'll discuss most of the film through its symbolism and underlying ideologies. These analogies are what create such a uniquely horrifying experience. Sure, Escape from Tomorrow is about a guy who goes on a really bad trip at Disney World. You know, like on bad acid the entire time, except without the bad acid. But that's not why Escape from Tomorrow is unique or important. It's unique in that it subtlety flows through social concepts such as corporate propaganda, subliminal messaging, even science fiction, and later interwoven with philosophical concepts such as the theories of memory, human apathy, and consumerism. Its aesthetically haunting and it is uncomfortably relevant.

Escape from Tomorrow exists as a social commentary of theme parks and Disney World and the entire Disney Corporation. Escape from Tomorrow is equally as much a directorially artistic film with such a style that has been unseen since Eraserhead. It's the post-Lynchian era of cinema and someone has succeeded in creating the next best thing. Lynch and Cronenberg fans will rejoice, along with cult-classic junkies. But really, what does Escape from Tomorrow come down to? Is it all over the place? Most definitely. Did it achieve what it was going for, or better yet, did it even have a direction in the first place? Who knows. When it all comes down to it, Escape from Tomorrow is a nightmarish and though-provoking piece of art.
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