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“ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW” (Blu-ray Review)

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Even preceding release from distributor PDA, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW was already cemented in pop culture as the first fictional feature shot in a Disney Amusement Park without permission. It seemed a testament to the extent of digital guerrilla filmmaking, but conversations about the film itself came second to those surrounding the legality of its production. Considering the trippy and off-putting territory the film dives into, it’s easy to see why.

ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW can be considered many things, be it psychological horror, pitch black comedy or surrealist sci-fi, but between the subversive elements within, one thing is certain: ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is likely not cut out for the average filmgoer. Director Randy Moore’s debut is a sincerely fascinating film, unraveling a strange, unsettling story about paranoia and compulsion during a family vacation. The film bounces between its esoteric plot elements, most of which are entangled in absurd or questionably tasteful sexual fantasy, but the film is gripping nonetheless.

Moore impressively converts the colorful world of Disney into a monochrome nightmare, keeping the point-of-view slightly askew to maintain an unnerving visual aesthetic. In fact, Moore’s focused direction keeps the narrative empathetic and involving no matter what bizarre places the audience is taken. Lucas Lee Graham’s cinematography is surprisingly slick for a film shot both covertly and resourcefully, although the black-and-white contrast is inconsistent throughout due to the absence of lighting continuity. The overall chaotic atmosphere of the film is furthered by Abel Korzeniowski’s well-orchestrated score, adding gravitas to the disorienting editing from Soonjin Chung.

 

ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW also sports a cast of newcomers, most of whom are better-than-expected considering the circumstances. Roy Abramsohn is stellar as the lead, convincingly exuding a subtle physical performance within the emotional and psychological cacophony of the narrative. Elena Schuber is excellent as the tragic matriarch of the family, delivering a restrained turn that feels authentically sentimental. The film is almost stolen by the tonally-appropriate bonkers performances from Allison Lees-Taylor and Stass Klassen as the maniacal antagonists, however.

On Blu-ray from Cinedigm, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW has a surprisingly great transfer, with the digitally shot video revealing a lot of depth in the clean, gorgeous images. The audio is equally as impressive, with no evident flaws or apparent hiss which allows the dialogue and score to be seamlessly interwoven. And the package also includes some impressive special features, including a lighthearted commentary track with Graham and Moore, a perplexing in-character commentary from Schuber and Abramsohn and a fascinating 15-minute “making-of” featurette that provides a lot of answers for those wondering about the complications of releasing ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW.

As a whole, ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is much more than its divisive gimmick, presenting a simultaneously humorous and creepy descent into surreal madness. Moore constructs an entrancing world of weirdness from the Disney park, yet still puts the mind-melting story front-and-center. With  a solid audio and video transfer from Cinedigm as well as some worthwhile special features, this Blu-ray is a great grab for the curious and open-minded, as there’s truly nothing quite like it.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Web Content Manager for FANGORIA, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, a graphic novel and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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