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A Fantastic Fear of Everything

North American Premiere
  • U.k.
  • 2012
  • 100 mins
  • DCP
  • English

Jack (Simon Pegg) is a children’s book author who is attempting to break into the film world. He has written a script based on the lives and work of Victorian-age serial killers. This work has taken its toll on his psyche, and he now lives in constant fear of murder. During one particularly scary night, he is convinced that he is being set upon by child carolers, an unknown phantom, and the ladies at the local launderette, the centre of all his paranoia.

Writer/director Crispian Mills and co-director Chris Hopewell draw the spectator into this strange and off-kilter world through a mind-bending combination of fish-eye lens, elongated corridors, and a stop-motion hedgehog. Pegg provides the perfect image of the down-and-out writer, so obsessed with his work that he becomes oblivious to even the most basic daily chores, even though he is aware of his own creeping madness. The majority of the narrative is set over the course of a few hours on a fateful night when Jack has the opportunity to meet with a Hollywood producer; fate and an ill-advised attempt at using his oven as a clothes dryer force him out in the world, full of madmen and thieves. As we are completely within Jack’s perspective, the film slowly tightens the screws until we, too, wonder if maybe Jack is right, and maybe the world is out to get him.

A quirky gem of a film, Mill’s and Hopewell’s feature film debut A FANTASTIC FEAR OF EVERYTHING fits well into the British tradition of horror-comedy, where slightly crazed logic flows along with an acceptance of the weird, the existential and the eccentric. Pegg shows he is much more than just the comic relief (really, what other actor can run around a film in dirty underpants, and make us both feel both laughter and fear, for him and ourselves?), A FANTASTIC FEAR OF EVERYTHING is the kind of film that, watched in a dark theatre on a rainy day, will leave you wondering just who might be the wolf in sheep's clothing, looking over your shoulder and trying to remember where you left your carving knife.

— Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg

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