The film debuted as part of the Sundance Next category at the festival in Park City, Utah on Friday night, and the immediate reaction from those who saw it was, to paraphrase, "Holy shit, how did this get made?" Not because it's bad, but because it was filmed almost exclusively on the grounds of the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks. Without permission of the litigious corporate behemoth. In some of the most controlled, closely observed environments in the country.
Writer-director Randy Moore shot on Disney's soil for 25 days total. With a budget under $1 million, Moore employed a small cast and crew, a Canon camera, and many a cell phone trick in order to make his mystifying, upsetting, black and white surrealist tale. The Los Angeles Times has an informative breakdown of Moore and just how he accomplished this strange feat, while Drew McWeeny at HitFix has a review that covers the end result quite nicely.
Escape from Tomorrow follows a seemingly normal guy on the last day of a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. After discovering that he's lost his job, the husband and father escorts his two angelic daughters around the park as he loses – or maybe strengthens? – his grip on reality and encounters increasingly strange, phantasmorgic happenings and impulses.
Among those impulses is a seriously scumbaggy urge to follow around two flirtatious young French girls. This clip, here thanks to Deadline, shows Jim, played by television regular Roy Abramsohn, encountering the two teenagers at his hotel pool.
While there's no copyright infringement on display in the clip, the movie is apparently stuffed full of recognizable Disney characters and locations, including but not limited to, "Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain, Tiki Room and teacups, princesses and a Main Street parade."
That naturally leads to problems in getting this film to general audiences, since Disney's lawyers will doubtless have something to say about its valuable imagery showing up in a strange, disturbing movie filmed on location without permission. Moore was so aware of the danger of Disney squashing the whole endeavor through legal action that he edited Escape from Tomorrow on the sly in South Korea so that word wouldn't get back to the corporation.
So who knows whether or not we'll actually get to see Escape from Tomorrow, but I damn sure want to lay eyes on this movie. Stay tuned for more on the fate of Randy Moore's feature debut.