REVIEW: ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: RANDY MOORE / SCREENPLAY: RANDY MOORE / STARRING: ROY ABRAMSOHN, ELENA SCHUBER, KATELYNN RODRIGUEZ, JACK DALTON / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 30TH
There are certain films out there that, regardless of their quality, must be appreciated for even coming to be and Randy Moore’s psychedelic Disneyland horror Escape From Tomorrow is one of these. Legally risky and controversial, this is a movie that goes all out in concept and while the delivery is polarising, it's unlikely that its writer/director Randy Moore wanted it any other way. The movie is filmed guerrilla-style at Disneyland (without their blessing) and sees father/husband Jim (Roy Abramsohn) being slowly intoxicated by the setting and the weird events going on there.
Shot in black and white and showered in Disney iconography, it is hard to say what is worse, the fact this odd film is so inexplicably intoxicating or that Disneyland makes such an apt setting for a horror film. Taking more from the Lynchian thought process than the general horror rulebook, this is an ambitious undertaking. Moore’s film features no real coherent narrative structure, instead allowing the viewer to make sense of this visual acid trip. The array of imagery can become overpowering, but all the same Escape From Tomorrow demands to be at least tried.
It could be a play on the Disney brand’s transportative power, it could be a play on a Disney fairytale or it could (most likely) be a film about death and our idea of paradise. Whatever the case, the film crazily jumps from scene to scene, eventually losing you in its mad, meandering mindset, but it is not without its moments of gravitas, thanks to wicked scoring by Abel Korzeniowski. How much you ultimately enjoy this film (if that is the right word) depends highly on personal taste and considering horror is already among the most subjective of genres, that is saying something.
Some will label this film unwatchable, and it is disappointing that it feels so jumpy and fragmented in terms of what it is trying to get across. That said, it's a beautiful disaster, and it also boasts a very committed central performance by Abramsohn, who manages to strike tragic and comic chords as the lead character Jim.
Like a naked jog through a nunnery, Escape From Tomorrow is wrong on so many levels and yet bizarrely and inescapably gutsy. Disney is choosing to ignore the film, but a lawsuit could well have been on the cards. In the end, Escape From Tomorrow is a cult gem in the making that will be loathed by some and loved by others (and freak out the rest). Like a nightmare after a Disney movie marathon, it is illogical, unsettling, disturbing and yet, in many ways, quite unavoidably beautiful.