I Saw Escape from Tomorrow and Wish I Hadn’t

4 min read

Liz Foster ’22

Bits and Pieces Editor

Films don’t often leave me riddled with regret. The bar is pretty high: after all, two weeks ago I reviewed a Kevin Smith movie centered around turning a podcaster into a walrus–check out Tusk if you’re ready for a disturbing time. This Monday-Movie-Night brought my Jarvis suite back to Amazon’s movie selection–this is not an endorsement of Amazon–in search of a new watch. After stumbling a review on YouTube, an anti-Disney indie flick called Escape from Tomorrow caught my attention. An hour and forty minutes later, I found myself wishing it didn’t.

There is so little to be gleaned from this film it’s remarkable. In short, the plot follows the impressively unlikable Jim, his wife, and their two children. They’re on a family vacation at Disney and things start to get a little weird. Jim begins to see visions of creepy dolls and his own child’s eyes turning black like a demon’s. He’s hallucinating and behaving strangely, eventually getting incredibly inebriated to the point that he vomits off the side of a ride. He also develops an insatiable need for sex. This man is horny to a degree that should be illegal–and, to some degree, it is.

His sexual frustration begins on the “It’s a Small World” where he all but assaults his own wife in a desperate search for a make out. A major plot point is Jim following around two French teenagers, even going so far as to pick up a French for beginners book in front of his wife much to her dismay. The girls first appear on a train in front of Jim’s family, and he makes no secret of his interest. His wife, Emily, continuously notices his interest in the minors, but does little except shame him. Jim brings his son around the park under the guise of splitting and showing him around but spends his time hunting down the European Lolita. The father of two develops a delusional obsession with the teenagers who eventually attempt to persuade him to join them.

However, his sex obsession doesn’t end with pedophilia. He sexualizes nearly every woman that appears on screen except his own wife who he compares to Emily Dickinson. He ends up in bed with a woman he meets on a bench and ogles over–though the scene is arguably him being raped. Jim and his kid are on a ride where the delusional man imagines a naked woman, the camera makes it that her chest is the focus of the scene. The hyper sexualization continues when the Disney princesses are exposed as prostitutes for “rich Asian businessmen.”

Though the film has been spoiled in its entirety at this point, it’s worth mentioning the bizarre “cat flu” plotline that floats in and out of the film. The movie was released in 2013, before the rise of COVID-19 and after the peak of swine flu, so I question whether the disease is intended to reflect any real-life illnesses. The cat flu is brought up at random moments throughout the course of the entire movie, although there are warning signs peppered throughout the park, and eventually at the film’s end where Jim succumbs to the cat flu’s mysterious powers. That’s right: he fucking dies from cat flu.

Escape from Tomorrow is uncomfortable. In fact, it was uncomfortable to the point that if I hadn’t spent $4.00 to rent the movie, I would have stopped watching. I will never see that money again. There’s piss, shit, spit, blood, and an excess of phallic imagery. Pedophilia and infidelity are consistent themes. The film literally opens with a shot of someone being decapitated on Splash Mountain, so I don’t know how I expected Escape from Tomorrow to even resemble a decent movie.

In defense of the film, it was created through an incredibly impressive guerilla campaign. The cast and crew bought season passes to both Disney World and Disneyland, continuously returning to the park in the same outfits and riding rides until all the scenes were completed. At certain points, one almost forgets that Disney did not give the team permission to film on site. This makes for an interesting viewing experience but fails to make up for the film’s disturbing and lackluster plot.

The only context in which you should watch this movie is if you are severely inebriated with two hours of leisure time you don’t mind wasting at the hands of Director Mr.  Randy Moore. In short, I would not recommend Escape from Tomorrow and honestly wish that I had not watched it myself. Please do not watch this film.

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