Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Movie Month: Escape from Tomorrow

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)
not rated
Netflix instant

Escape from Tomorrow is about a family that takes their two young children to "the happiest place on Earth."  While on their vacation, the father finds out that he has lost his job, he becomes increasingly irritated at his wife, and he becomes entangled in his own fantasies about two girls/young women also at the theme park.  The "happiest place on Earth" starts to become the most paranoid place on Earth as the father loses his grip on reality.

The music and setting starts out feeling very much like the beginning of a Disney movie.  That feeling does not last long, as someone gets decapitated on a roller coaster.  It is not excessively gruesome, but you do see the head come off and it is definitely not expected!  I do not know how intentional it was, but I like the symbolism of the guy at the beginning of the movie representing how the main character "loses his head" at Disney.

Some of the things that happen while they are on rides start looking creepy to the dude and the film being in black and white adds to the creepy feel.  Some of the effects that are done are very simple, but they still work in setting the creepy tone.  Plus, the music does a good job of setting the appropriate tone throughout the film.

There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie saying that Disney had nothing to do with the making of the film.  I wonder how much of what they filmed was done with permission, how much of it was replicated, and how much of it was filmed illegally.  Some scenes are obviously filmed in front of a green screen, but there are other scenes that look like they were actually filmed at the park.  Even though the disclaimer at the beginning says that it is a work of fiction, the book that I use to teach my abnormal psychology course has a story about a guy who does go through a psychotic episode at Disney.

Along with the implications of the guy following the young women/girls and nudity, there is also a weird sex scene.  There isn't actually any nudity during the scene, but the woman is wearing a necklace and the necklace keeps hitting the guy in the face.  The sex scene takes place after there have been several scenes showing his declining grip on reality, so I do question whether or not the sex actually took place or if it was just in his head.

Rating and Recommendation:  2.5/5.  Worth checking out, but you won't be missing too much if you pass.  Escape from Tomorrow is ambitious and, at times, it works very well.  However, sometimes the ambition outweighs the execution, leaving the film feeling unfinished and not fully thought out.  I really like how things started out and I thought that it had a lot of potential to be a really cool indie movie about a guy slowly losing his mind.  But, towards the end of the film, they started throwing too much into it.  "He's crazy.  No, it's the flu.  No, it's a secret Disney plot.  No, she's a witch.  No, it's like the Shining..."  If they had just stuck with one thing, it could have been really awesome.  Or, if they had just made things a little more clear, it could have worked.  I did find it to have some very interesting aspects and I would be interested in watching it again with a group of friends so that we could have a more in-depth discussion about it afterwards.  But, I don't know if I necessarily see myself watching it on my own again anytime in the near future.  If just a few things had been different, I would say that this one is definitely worth checking out.  But, unfortunately this falls short of being a must see.

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

- The Gargyle

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