Toronto After Dark, Day 9: A Fantastic Fear Of Everything
Jack, an author, has developed an acute case of paranoia while researching for a book on Victorian serial killers. He is barely able to leave his house, and every bump in the night fills his mind with delusions of murderers lurking just down the hallway. The only thing more schizophrenic than Jack is the script for A Fantastic Fear Of Everything, a strange and quirky little storybook tale from writer/director Crispian Mills.
Let me be clear in stating that I don’t mean that in a bad way, as I simply adored this film. It is merely an observation on a story that jumps around erratically, shifting between tones and moods with a reckless abandon. From horror to comedy. Gangster rap to classical. Mystical forests to dark basements. It is a film that wants to be a bit of everything, and while this makes for a wild and bumpy ride in parts, the entire tale is infused with a delightful sense of whimsy.
This is a tour-de-force performance by Simon Pegg. He is front and centre in nearly every shot, clearly having a great time as the frantic and really quite mad Jack. I won’t say that this is a role that requires a huge dramatic range, but his brand of wide-eyed energy that we’re familiar with from films such as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz has been finely focused here, lending every scene a sort of manic glee. This is absolutely his film, every other character merely a foil against which to act, and he carries it beautifully.
It is strange and it is slight, but A Fantastic Fear Of Everything doesn’t ask the viewer to do anything but sit back and have a little fun. If a lot of madness with a side of whimsy sounds like your thing, I would definitely check it out. 4 out of 5 stars.