Jim’s learning that he’s lost his job in the opening scene fuels his deep-seated psychological anxiety as the long day begins—sharing multiple rides with his family, standing in a long line for what feels like forever for Buzz Lightyear, admiring Cinderella’s Castle, in and out of the hotel’s pool. As Jim drifts repeatedly into sexist fantasies, especially of two nubile French girls, his behavior becomes increasingly disturbed and disoriented.
Unpleasant experiences occur with “cast members” (as Disney calls their workers), other park guests, and grotesque animatronic characters. For those of us who have often found theme parks’ garish gaiety and exaggerated characters off-putting, Jim’s jump from enjoyment to distress feels just right. But as the hour and a half film develops, Jim’s problems escalate in meandering, repetitive episodes, more style than substance, and a bit of that material relatively unappetizing—though the actors give it their best efforts.
Nevertheless, this low-budget, black-and-white sci-fi horror film has an intriguing history. Made for reportedly less than a million dollars, writer/director Randy Moore takes his guerrilla footage, uses green screen and other effects to transform the premiere entertainment destinations. We may have always suspected something lurking behind those smiles.
The St. Louis premiere of “Escape from Tomorrow” is at Webster University’s Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17th through Sunday, January 19th. For more information, you may call 314-968-7487 or on the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.