Director: Randy Moore (2013)
Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez
Find it: IMDB
Learning of his redundancy while on holiday, crap dad and husband Jim (Abramsohn) proceeds to have a mental breakdown in Disneyworld, Florida; getting shitfaced, sleazing on a pair of underage girls and bickering with his horrible wife. Temporarily losing his daughter and dragging his son around in pursuit of tween totty, Crap Dad is quick to learn that even the happiest place on Earth can be spectacularly shitty when the pressures of everyday life begin to seep in.
Filmed on the sly in Disneyworld*, Escape From Tomorrow is as brave a horror/thriller/comedy as they come. Given Disney's reputation for being infamously sue-happy (and I'm not just talking about Mary-Sues), it's a surprise that this thing ever saw the light of day. Still, kicking up a fuss would likely give it even more publicity, so maybe The House of Mouse's letting it slide is for the best. Especially once you stop to consider how the film itself doesn't exactly live up to its own promise...
Make no mistake, it does some things very well. Its early depictions of Crap Dad losing his mind are particularly good - the audience discomfort felt simply watching a family holiday going awry is far more effective than the later surrealism and scenes of out-and-out fantasy. Abramsohn does well as Crap Dad, garnering audience sympathy even while doing some pretty terrible things (one of the young girls he sleazes upon even has braces, for Pluto's sake) and acting like a general tit. Schuber is given an even more thankless job portraying his wife - rarely presented in a sympathetic light, and often acting as the film's 'villain'. I had hoped for Mickey Mouse wielding an enormous chainsaw, but that's fine enough, even if Moore does go too far in his demonization of Emily.
Look, never mind the review. What follows is a selection of images which will guarantee you go away wanting to watch Escape From Tomorrow, regardless of my opinion on the thing:
Ultimately and ironically - considering the central message - Escape From Tomorrow suffers from too much imagination. It tries to do too much with too little, resulting in a messy final quarter and nonsensical ending(s). That's a shame, since it looks wonderful and has some really great ideas up its sleeve, not least its long overdue critique of the Disney corporation. An enjoyable if flawed oddity, Escape From Tomorrow is an impressive piece of semi-guerrilla Indie filmmaking. I mean, I'd rather watch Enchanted, but it's a nice distraction.
*Apart from the bits that weren't - shot either on traditional sets or in a studio, against green screen.