On a family trip to a Florida theme park a father finds something is not quite right with the vacation.
Director/writer Randy Moore perhaps has broke the mold for turning something so loved and established on it’s head. If it wasn’t for the fact it is in black and white it could almost be described as a trippy, psychedelic horror ride.
Opening with a ride on ‘Thunder Mountain’ (many famous rides are featured throughout) it quickly turns into a paranoia ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ type vibe, reminiscent of elements of with ‘Jacobs Ladder’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ as a father begins to see the happy faces of visitors, staff and characters around the theme park turn into gnarled faces, evil faces and others with empty black eyes sockets.
Roy Abramsohn plays Jim; every day Dad, perfectly however, either there’s something not quite right with Jim or the park is off. There’s some irony thrown in is as the queues are endless for the rides and the pressure of taking the family on any holiday. Both child actors Katelynn Rodriguez as Sara and Jack Dalton as Elliott are notable.
For the first hour Moore creates an uneasy anxiousness throughout as Jim spends his time following two young French girls around the park in midlife crisis fashion straining his relationship with his wife Emily played by excellently by Elena Schuber. You have a grown man who has lost his job, at the end of his tether, blacking out and leaving his kids unattended (horror enough), while encountering strange characters including a cougar like drunk, a whaling nurse, naked women and a kooky scientist to name a few.
While the story isn’t linear, it’s a strange trippy ride especially in the latter half where Jim finds himself under The Epcot Centre in a ‘2001 Space Oddity’ and ‘Future World’ looking environment. In addition, the final act and closing has Hitchcockian/’Twilight Zone’ qualities.
For a low budget affair what is commendable is that director Moore manages to put a David Lynch style chiller together turning something so ingrained as joyous and familiar into something so unnerving and surreal, while still respecting the real life park and big W (it’s not a Disney bashing film persay). Clearly filmed at Disney World and Disneyland it’s surprising how well put together and edited the film is and it has some nice effects and blood thrown in for good measure. Abel Korzeniowski’s music score emulates and captures both the park’s environment and paranoia perfectly.