Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Feb 8th, 2013

Film: Sundance Film Festival’s buzzy Escape from Tomorrow

Escape from Tomorrow Escape from Tomorrow was arguably one of the most unique films I saw at Sundance 2013. Shot digitally in ethereal black and white,  and transferred to 35 mm film, this dark comedy morphs into an art film with surrealist images. Director Randy Moore films the Disney theme park empire as a very dark place indeed, perhaps inhabited by Satan’s minions, aliens, a slick and evil corporate culture, or simply the backdrop for the hallucinations of an everyman, fired from his job and infected with the potentially lethal “cat flu.”

Filmed surreptitiously without a stamp of approval from Disney, the story follows the last day of a family vacation at Disneyworld. Father Jim (Roy Abramsohn) is fired from his job, locked out of his hotel room by his slightly demonic son, and utterly miserable, but he tries to keep the news of his firing from his hectoring wife Emily (Elena Schuber) and his children, the aforementioned off-putting Elliot (Jack Dalton) and sweet Sara (Katelynn Rodriguez).

Surreal adventures follow Jim: two flirtatious French teen girls constantly appear; Elliot’s eyes blacken; Jim loses his daughter, is attacked by a truly witchy woman, and watches the giant Epcot globe exploding.

It’s tough to tell if you’re watching a man losing his sanity, encouraged by the park’s mind-control like experience of enforced happiness; or you’re watching a man unknowingly co-opted by and battling Satanic forces, or aliens from another planet. Often hilarious, frequently demented, and ultimately both sad and satiric, Escape from Tomorrow defies easy categorization, but proves both thoroughly entertaining and puzzlingly obscure. Abramsohn serves as a strong and relatable center, the lush score by Abel Korzeniowski is terrific, and the smartly strange script offers extra disturbing bonus points for the viewer who also owns cats. It’s one of those films people actually talk about, or at least it will be, if Disney allows distribution.

About the Author

- Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and produced screen and television writer. New books include the romantic suspense of Executive Impulse (Crimson); more romance and mystery with Between the Sheets (Entangled), co-written with Linda Marr; and the mystery thriller Marathon (Five Star/Cenage). Her previous titles include the award winning romantic suspense of The Model Man and Five O’Clock Shadow (Kensington); the literary fiction of Dreamtown (FictionWorks), and the erotic novella Rodeo Man (as Nikki Alton) in The Cowboy anthology (Aphrodisia). In film, her work spans a variety of genres from supernatural thriller to romantic drama, family, teen, and comedy with an emphasis on independent film. A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, she’s written on staff for ABC-TV’s Port Charles; written, produced, and directed reality programming and documentaries for TLC, Lifetime, PBS, and HGTV, as well as numerous television commercials and corporate videos. She’s also written hundreds of articles on travel, love, the arts, writing, tech, food, parenting, and more.

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Film: Sundance Film Festival’s buzzy Escape from Tomorrow