A Fantastic Fear of Everything Movie Review
Directed by Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell
Written by Crispian Mills
Release Date: 8 June 2012
Running Time: 100 minutes
Editor’s Rating: 3 out of 4 kitchen knives super glued to my hand
Jack Nife (hereafter referred to as Simon Pegg because THAT IS A TERRIBLE NAME) is an accidental children’s author that wants to write about murder. He hates his most popular creation, Harold the Hedgehog, and wants to do something more edgy. However, some topics are best left alone by certain types, like meek and already slightly emotionally-fragile writers who are aching to do something else in their careers. Unfortunately, his newest idea for a TV show has him poring over the grisliest murders and nastiest viscera one can read about, making him absolutely certain everyone around him is out to do him in. So when his agent lets him know she’s set up a meeting with some unknown television producer to take a look at the TV treatment for his new book, he’s forced to suck it up and risk his fears, his neuroses, and his own inner monologue as he traverses London in order to meet him.
I’ve done reviews on quite a few Simon Pegg films, not only because he’s hilarious but also because I think he’s basically my generation’s John Cleese. However, it’s flicks like this that make me think he might be better. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz show us he can make us laugh by playing an average joe and an ‘80s-cop-movie stereotype, but Fear shows us that he can play a paranoid basket case and still make us laugh. This is a movie that feels like it should be a Hitchcock film with some kind of leery Eli Roth imagery, yet Pegg pulls off this incredibly detailed and entertaining performance. It’s films like these that make me wonder just how many films get saved by Pegg’s always spot-on facial expressions at just the right time. The whole film is about a man coming to terms with his deepest trauma, yet somehow Pegg makes sure we can laugh through it all.
Fear takes us to some really deep, really dark places of the human condition, but it still maintains a level of lightness and silliness, usually from Pegg’s performance, that keep it from turning into a David Fincher film. It’s a funny movie with scary images and just enough paranoia to make you think that there really is no way the film can end happily, until it does, just kind of out of nowhere and without explanation.
I really do like this film, but why am I giving it only three stars instead of 3.5 or four? Maybe it’s because if you take away Pegg’s performance, there’s not much to take in here. It’s a film that is super-focused on its main character, to the point that a full story seems incredibly difficult to tell. Even the antagonists of the movie (who aren’t Pegg himself) are just small, easily surmountable obstacles to Simon Pegg that seem to resolve themselves far too easily. The story makes it clear that Simon Pegg has found his peace at the end of the film, but we don’t know why. And after all that we’ve been through with him, we deserve to know why.
**I watched this film on Netflix. I was not compensated for this review. Also, this film is about murderers, paranoia, and mental illness. I shouldn’t need to tell you the rating to make you leave the kids at grandma’s for this.**
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