A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)
Dir: Crispian Mills & Chris Hopewell
Simon Pegg in his tighty-whiteys!
Jack (Pegg) is a writer, mostly of children’s books, who has been working on a project about notorious Victorian serial killers, and has immersed himself in research about some of the most unpleasant characters in history. However, this has taken its toll on Jack, and with his mind full of shady figures and their dark deeds, he starts seeing sinister implications in everything, shutting himself away from the outside world, until one fateful night ne is forced to leave his flat to confront his biggest childhood fear… laundrettes!
Very cleverly the opening of this film makes it feel like it will be a wide-reaching story, by opening with wide views of the cityscape and the sort of epic music you could associate with a global disaster film or something of that nature. In actual fact, hardly any of the shots for the rest of the film are exteriors, the majority happens in a couple of small spaces, a flat, a restaurant, and a laundrette.
There are some other clever moments, and nice stylistic elements, such as a little homage to the famous shower scene from ‘Psycho‘. The film aims to be surreal and funny in places, but I felt it could do with more of either, or possibly both. It’s just not quite surreal or funny enough. That’s not due to Simon Pegg not being up to the task, because he really is working his socks off, but as the main character in a film that has only small parts for anyone else, Pegg really is expected to carry the whole thing alone.
Crispian Mills co-directed, produced, and wrote this, but it’s his first attempt in all of those capacities. Maybe he needed more experience himself as a collaborator on other projects to really cut his teeth, or possibly should have brought in a more experienced co-writer to help. Mills comes from the background of being a musician, and the film shows all the signs of it being by an arty type, but the elements just don’t come together in a way that works, which is a real shame when you consider how good Pegg might have been if he’d had something better to work with.
The highlight of the film is near the end, there’s a great little animation sequence that’s nicely dark and almost ‘Burtonic’ in telling the story of some hedgehogs. It’s available online, so possibly just take 5 minutes to watch the trailer and then that, and you’ve sen everything you need but in a fraction of the time.